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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Will Shakes wasn't the first person to write an "Elizabethan Sonnet," but he was most definitely the best, which is why this particular sonnet form is also known as a "Shakespearean Sonnet." Pretty...

Speaker

Hanging out with our speaker is a lot like chilling with Hamlet—both of these figures have some major personal problems and they're not afraid to spill their guts about it. Like Hamlet, our speak...

Setting

Okay, we know that Shakespeare whipped up Sonnet 29 while living in England in the 1590s, but he doesn't specify an exact time or geographical location for this poem. Basically, all the drama in th...

Sound Check

People are always running around saying that reading a Shakespearean sonnet is a lot like listening to a beating heart. That's true, and we talk about it more in our "Form and Meter" section. But w...

What's Up With the Title?

When Shakespeare's sonnets were first published in 1609, they were assigned numbers instead of individual titles (Sonnets 1-154, to be exact). Sometimes they're referred to by their first lines, wh...

Calling Card

Almost all of Uncle Shakespeare's sonnets have what's called a "turn" or a "volta," which is just a fancy schmancy way of saying that there's a big dramatic shift somewhere in the poem. In Sonnet 2...

Tough-o-Meter

Sure, all Elizabethan writing can seem like a foreign language at first (unless you spent your early childhood touring the countryside with a travelling Renaissance Fair). But don't sweat this poem...

Trivia

The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man (a.k.a. the Fair Youth), who is a sort of a recurring "character" in the sonnet sequence. (Source.) Although you wouldn't know it from reading Son...

Steaminess Rating

Don't worry, Shmoopsters. You won't have to fan yourselves with your copy of this poem because it's not exactly hot and steamy. Sure our speaker mentions the "sweet love" (13) of some unnamed myste...

Allusions

When read together, Sonnets 1-126 seem to be addressed to an unnamed young man that most scholars refer to as "The Fair Youth." Today, most scholars (like Harold Bloom and Stephen Booth) argue that...
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