William Shakespeare Essays

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Essay About William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was a genius, and, in some respects, he still is. His work changed the way writers considered their craft. He created new phrases that no one had ever thought to use before, some even containing new words that no one had ever used or heard of. Almost all of his sonnets embody elements of love, lust, and sexual desire, but one, in particular, makes fun of this. Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 130,’ tells about a certain ‘mistress’ of Shakespeare’s, comparing her to various objects and items, some crude, and talking about how her beauty doesn’t add up to any of them. However, at the end of the poem, Shakespeare includes a couplet that makes up for his insults about his mistress, writing ‘I think my love as rare as any belied with false compare’ (line 13-14), seemingly negating what he wrote earlier in the poem and repairing the negative remarks. William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway when he was just 18 years old. She was about 8 years older than he (Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s Wife.), and she was also pregnant. With it being socially unacceptable for a woman to be pregnant and not married at the time, neither had much choice in the matter of marriage. They had three children together: Hamnet, Susanna, and Judith. Hamnet died when he was only 11, but Susanna and Judith lived on and had children of their own. Shakespeare died when he was only 52 years old, and his wife died when she was 67.
Anne Hathaway was rumored to be a somewhat ugly woman, even though there are no known portraits that exist of her, nor of Shakespeare for that matter. With that, it is safe to presume that ‘Sonnet 130’ is actually about Hathaway, coupled with the fact that there is no knowledge of Shakespeare having relations with any woman other than Hathaway. It is, however, important to mention that he might have had sexual relations with ‘The Dark Lady’, a character mentioned in Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Ciccarelli), but of course, none of it has been proven. From sonnets 127 to 154, Shakespeare writes about this ‘Dark Lady’. Although she is never referred to by that name, scholars have given it to her regarding her described dark features and dark nature. While many of these sonnets allude to an adulterous relationship with this woman, Shakespeare dislikes the fact that he continues relations with her despite the fact that he knows how toxic the relationship is. The sonnet begins by commenting on the eyes of his mistress, saying that they ‘are nothing like the sun’ (line 1). Shakespeare then goes on to further criticize his mistress, saying that her hair is comparable to black wires, her breath reeks, and her voice is far less pleasing than music (lines 4, 8, and 9-10). It is unknown if he is actually speaking about Anne Hathaway or the mysterious Dark Lady, but one might consider the latter, bearing in mind that this was written during the period when Shakespeare was supposedly writing about her. But this sonnet is different. Shakespeare notes at the end of the sonnet that she, whoever she may be, is his love, writing ‘I think my love as rare’ (line 13).
He would not have referenced the Dark Lady in this line, as he realizes that she is not good for him and would not refer to her as his ‘love’, therefore making it more reasonable for him to be referring to his wife in this particular sonnet. Whether it is an aside about his wife, taking a sort of ‘breather’ from this sequence of sonnets about the Dark Lady, or simply a continuation of his toxic-like sonnets about the aforementioned person, the end of the sonnet still praises his mistress. He ends the sonnet by contradicting everything else he’s written thus far. Shakespeare speaks about his love is as rare as any relationship, basically making it not rare at all, which could be his one last call to the rudeness of the sonnet and making the ending seem weak. However, after reading the final line, one understands that this is not the case. With the equal reading of the two lines, one can tell that he thinks his love to be ‘as rare as any woman who has been misrepresented by ridiculous comparisons’ (Mabillard). He believes her to be a fine woman whom he loves just the way she is. There is no embellishment needed for Shakespeare, as he is already in love with the woman.  

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