shakespeare summary





Sonnet number one hundred sixteen and number one hundred thirty provide a good look at what Shakespeare himself defines as love. The former describes the ever-enduring nature of true love, while the latter gives an example of this ideal love through the description of a woman who many call the “Dark Lady”. Through the combination of these two sonnets Shakespeare provides a consistent picture of what love should be like in order to “bear it out even to the edge of doom”(116, Ln: 12). To me the tern “maker” used by Sir Philip Sidney to describe the poets first and foremost duty would refer to the creation process, which produces the end text. The discourse of the poet is to take an emotion or event they up to that point was purely felt, and make it into flowing words, which in turn reproduce the initial emotion. The poet is therefore a “maker” of poems as well as emotion. This emotion would not be present however if the poet were not human experiencing the ups and downs of everyday life. Therefore I feel that the poet is first and foremost human, and therefore susceptible to human needs, feelings, and emotions, and secondly a maker.
In Sonnet number one-hundred sixteen Shakespeare deals with the characteristics of a love that is “not time’s fool”, that true love that will last through all (Ln: 9). This sonnet uses the traditional Shakespearian structure of three quatrains and a couplet, along with a standard rhyme scheme. The first and third quatrains deal with the idea that love is “an ever-fixed mark”, something that does not end or change over time (Ln: 5). Shakespeare illustrates this characteristic of constancy through images of love resisting movement and time in the first quatrain. To Shakespeare “Love is not love/ Which alters when it alteration finds, / or bends with the remover to remove”(Ln: 2-4). Love is something that does not change when it finds and alteration in the object of its affection. Love merely adapts or does not notice these alterations at all. The second quatrain compares loves stability to a star fixed in the sky, “the star to every wandering bark, / Who’s worth’s unknown, although his height be taken” (Ln: 7-8). The third quatrain again shows the consistency of love through imagery concerning the passage of time. With the lines: “Love is not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks/ Within his bending sickles compass come” Shakespeare comments on the blindness of this ideal love (Ln: 9-10). Time, although it may be able to fade someone’s physical appearance, cannot touch love. Love is immortal and unchanging regardless of any effect time would have on ones physical appearance. The couplet changes in tone from the rest of the sonnet. In contrast to the descriptive images used to catalogue the virtues of love, the couplet is a stern straightforward set of words.
Sonnet one hundred thirty describes a woman that Shakespeare loves. His descriptions of both this woman, and what he loves about her comply with the standards he has set forth in sonnet one hundred sixteen. It seems as though Shakespeare is almost playing it safe by loving this woman. The cheeks and lips, which are portrayed in the previous sonnet as something, which will fade with time, are not at all the basis of Shakespeare’s affection. The fact that Shakespeare uses the words: “Coral is far more red than her lips red” to describe her physical appearance shows that he is not concerned with the level of her outward beauty. Shakespeare lists ideals in physical appearance, which his mistress does not meet throughout the whole sonnet. Still in the couplet he states that his love for this woman is more than anyone else could ever give her. It is a pure love, not in danger of falling to the effects of change or time.

Question 2
The situations found in the plot of William Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream reinforce Sir Philip Sidney’s definition of what a comedy is. The groups of characters and their misfortunes are portrayed in such a ridiculous fashion that one would have to be insane to wish for their luck. The initial problem of whom Hermia was to marry is