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История литературы / 13. Shakespeare ssonnets

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William Shakespeare was born on 23 of April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Sh attended grammar school, but his formal education proceeded no further. Нe married Anne Hathaway and had 3 children with her. Around 1590 he left his family behind and traveled to London to work as an actor and playwright. Public and critical acclaim quickly followed, and Sh eventually became the most popular playwright in England and part-owner of the Globe Theater. His career bridged the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I and he was a favorite of both monarchs. Wealthy and renowned, Sh retired to Stratford and died in 1616. The time chronology of his plays can’t be determined. In the burning of the “Globe” probably many of his original manuscripts perished. Sonnets are a very important part of Shakespeare creations. They express the vision of life. There are 4 types of sonnets: 1. The Italian sonnet (the sonnet of Petrarca) 2. The Spenserian sonnet 3. The English sonnet . The Italian sonnet – the original form of the sonnet. Developed by Petrarca. Each section of an Italian sonnet has a specific rhyme scheme & a specific purpose. The purpose of the octet is to present the situation or a problem. The purpose of the sestet is to comment on the situation or problem posed in the octet. When this is used in English it’s usually iambic pentameter. Spenserian sonnet – variation developed by Edmund Spenser. It serves as a bridge between the Italian sonnet & Shakespearian one. There does not appear to be a requirement that the initial octet sets up a problem, which the closing sestet answers. Instead the form is treated as 3 quatrains, followed by a couplet. Again iambic pentameter is used. It’s half descriptive, half conclusive. The English sonnet – a form was developed by Shakespeare himself to accommodate the Italian sonnet to relatively rhyme-poor English. The rhyme scheme of the English sonnet is ABABCDCDEFEFEGG. Shakespeare has eliminated the close linking via rhymes to allow more flexibility in the English, which does not provide as many rhyming possibilities as Italian. (See the154th sonnet by Shakespeare) Shakespeare shows us that we can express much in little. Precise form does not tolerate any freedom of expression.* Translation is an art of gains & losses. But there are things which should remain as they are which cannot be violated. It’s the form of the sonnet that can’t be dispensed with. It’s the meaning of the sonnet which can’t be ruined. Shakespearian sonnets produce upon the reader the impression of life full of predicaments & it gives one the notion of what the conflict really means as a mechanism which makes life develop.

Shakespearian sonnets, 154 in number, can be viewed from different perspectives. The collection can be viewed as a communicative block (a story of a poet & his predicament) encompassing other overlapping stories about Love, Time, Friendship, each having a pivot. It’s a story of a person’s life in all its complexity. It’s the story of his attitude to life as such. He is very much afraid of death, of time, being a man of renaissance epoch he cannot bear any limitations. He doesn’t know what to do, so he sets a program, which has to fight these limitations. He invents certain means. First, it’s his verses which can save not only him but also his beloved. Person may die but the sonnets remain. And these sonnets can make his image, his friend, his epoch immortal. Unlike the sonnets of Petrarch, Shakespearian sonnets were more philosophical, they were not descriptive. They give the reader the opportunity to consider life in all its manifestations. The sonnets have the feel of autobiographical poems, but no one knows enough about Shakespeare's life to say whether or not they deal with real events and feelings. They are about 3 char-rs: the poet himself, his friend & a lady with whom the poet was in love. The first 17 sonnets are written to a young man, urging him to marry and have children, thereby passing down his beauty to the next generation. These are called the procreation sonnets. Most of them, 18-126, are addressed to a young man expressing the poet's love for him. Sonnets 127-152 are written to the poet's mistress expressing his strong love for her. The final two sonnets, 153-154, are allegorical. The final thirty or so sonnets are written about a number of issues, such as the young man's infidelity with the poet's mistress, self-resolution to control his own lust, criticism of the world, etc. SONNET 144-PIVOT! The first sonnet introduces many of the themes that will define the sequence: beauty, the passage of human life in time, and the love the speaker bears for the young man. Sonnet 1 opens not only the entire sequence of sonnets, but also "procreation" sonnets. You can see your youth reflecting in your children. This is the image of ever young humanity. He also speaks about friendship. He shows us that everyone, no matter he wants it or not, has a proprietorial instinct. Everyone becomes jealous, everyone betrays & is betrayed: and it’s natural. He suffers but treats all these as inevitable. “Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II. My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” (“Romeo & Juliet”) Conflict is not only opposition but a unity: that’s why a paradox occurs. “What potions have I drunk of siren tears,Distilled from limbecks foul as hell within, Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears, Still losing when I saw myself to win!…” (sonnet119)

The cumulative effect of the sonnets on the collection level is thought to be a source of the gradually increasing sense of Beauty.

Every sonnet gives us a topic, which is summed up in a couplet, which sometimes contradicts the meaning of the whole sonnet. Still sometimes the couplet confirms the idea put in the body of the sonnet. Shakespeare is great when giving us not only the beautiful, but the ugly also. And the ugly in its turn is a background against which Beauty may be most vividly seen. Sonnet 130 is about false compare. It has a phylosophical background - your love should be true and you don`t need any false Shakespear wrote his sonnet to show that you don`t need to beautify the woman you love. she deserves being loved as she is, so the woman shown by Sh is not an ideal. The sonnets focus on issues the modern reader would find worth discussing, because they exhibit different spheres of human experience. The sonnets help the reader to perceive the world holistically to see cause-effect relations & regard the same phenomenon in diverse perspectives. *The sonnets give the reader the opportunity to explore culture & evaluate it both “horizontally” & “vertically” in a wide context of world culture.