Monday, September 12, 2016

Informal Research for Sonnet Analysis (18) by Gaylie Bowles

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Traditional Scholarly Source

  • This article by Alison Scott, "A Mutual Render, Only Me for Thee: True Gifts in Shakespeare's Sonnets" offers a new perspective on what may have been Shakespeare's mindset as he wrote some of these sonnets. While this article focuses on the "Procreation Sonnets" there is relevant material that pertains to Sonnet 18 as well. In her article, Scott refers to the dilemmas of gift giving, the procedure and expectation inherent in the very culture of gift giving. She addresses the trickiness involved in giving to a superior, the complications of gift that are motivated by more than just kindness or good will. These beg the question, what prompted the penning of this sonnet? What motivations inspired these coupled lines? I find myself inclined to believe that this sonnet ought to sit in juxtaposition to the ones she refers  to. I don't feel the tension of unrequited love or the struggle to defend word that ought to have been beyond value due to their sentiment. Rather, this sonnet seems to me to be a playful, even flirtatious exercise, a gift given unhindered by the fears that loomed throughout the other sonnets.


Informal Online Source

  • I appreciated the straight forward, contradicting view this article presented. Of particular interest to me was the second, by James Boyd-White which discounts Sonnet 18 as a love poem calling it instead an act of self glorification. And I am convinced there is truth in this. The sonnet lacks any real detailed description of the "object" of affections. Though the individual (gender of "object" aside) is compared to various things and said to be superior to all, by the end of the sonnet we are left without any mental picture of what the individual looked like, being destitute of any real concrete description. Then in the final couplet, the sonnet says, and don't worry darling, these lines will allow you to live forever. In a sense that is true, hundreds of years later, we are aware that Shakespeare wrote a "love" poem in the form of this sonnet but we know absolutely nothing about the person (assuming it wasn't just a creative exercise) that he wrote it about. Instead we all gawk over the beautifully penned lines and the grace with which Shakespeare dances around his subject. Which begs the question, what was his real intention?

Media Source

  • Confession, this is by far my favorite bullet point! So in my efforts to find a piece of art (I was looking for an image) that was inspired by Sonnet 18 I looked up the wikipedia page for Sonnet 18. At the very bottom,  the last blip before the notes section, was a sentence claiming (this is wikipedia after all) that the lead singer of Bastille wrote the song "Poet" after being inspired by the words of this sonnet. Guys, that so awesome, I was fascinated by some of the lyrics to this song before and now they take on a whole new depth because they connect in a way I didn't expect! 

(youtube lyrics video- below)
Social Source

 (lyrics in written format- below)

Social Source

  • So after the discovery that I described in the above bullet point, I immediately texted my friend who introduced me to Bastille. She thought it was pretty cool too (or at least she pretended to). After texting her the sonnet's lines and the lyrics to the song so that she could compare them, I told her how cool I thought it was that an artist was inspired by a prominent piece of literature. I am intrigued by the idea of taking something like that, and thus having a "box" to work from and then creatively finding something new and thus building something out of the box. Anyways after I confessed that I am a nerd, she one again reiterated "that's so cool!" (and she used an exclamation point, so that's good right?) So this was my attempt at having a social experience with Shakespeare's 18th Sonnet. 

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting point that Sonnet 18 seems more self glorifying then a love poem, it opens up a potentially interesting discussion of what Shakespeare's real purpose was.