Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey
Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey

Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey

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  • Published: October 19, 2017
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Before I compare these sonnets I must understand exactly what a sonnet is.

A sonnet is a type of poem, which poets often use to express their feelings. The themes of most sonnets are subjects such as war and death or love and happiness. Sonnets are useful because the poet can tell the reader what they want to say in just fourteen short lines.The person who wrote the first sonnet is unknown but the form of the sonnet originated in Italy in the thirteenth century, a long time before Shakespeare was born. The sonnet first reached England in the sixteenth century courtesy of Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey.Sonnets are a form of poem, which are different from all others.

They always consist of fourteen lines, and each line has ten syllables.Each line also has a regular pattern where the first syllable is unstressed and is then followed by a stressed syllable. Once this is repeated five times in each line it is known as an iambic pentameter.The most famous form of sonnet is the Shakespearean sonnet and is known as this because it is the pattern that Shakespeare used for many of his sonnets. The sonnets that I have chosen are all Shakespearean and written by Shakespeare.I am going to compare three sonnets that are all by Shakespeare, which are ‘Shall I compare thee.

..?’, ‘Let me not’ and ‘Act I Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet’. I have selected these poems because I believe that they will make an interesting comparison, as they are all love sonnets with different purposes.

Each poem


has love as he main theme but they are written with a different purpose or reason. “Shall I compare thee…?” is written by Shakespeare to the person who he loved although we do not know who this person is.

Shakespeare’s aim of the sonnet was to teach people the power of words. You can tell this in the rhyming couplet at the end of he sonnet:”So long as men can breath or eyes can see,So long lives this, and gives life to thee.”What Shakespeare means by this is that as long as mankind exists this sonnet will exist and therefore Shakespeare’s love will still exist. He is showing us how words can defeat time.

“Let me not”, however has a different purpose. Instead of Shakespeare talking about his love, he chooses to teach people that ‘true love’ is the only love that will last. Again Shakespeare gets to the point of the sonnet at the beginning as the first quatrain talks about how love is not true love if there are any doubts:”Admit impediments, love is not loveWhich alters when it alteration findes.”In these lines with the use of enjambment Shakespeare tells us how people who admit their impediments to each other should be married but how love is not ‘true love’ if when the loved person changes your feelings towards them change.The third sonnet I have selected again has a different purpose, which is because it is a sonnet embedded within Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Shakespeare uses this sonnet, where both Romeo and Juliet take par

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in the dialogue, to show how Romeo and Juliet feel about each other and how they are meant to be together.All of the sonnets are aimed at a different audience. “Shall I compare the..

.?” is aimed at Shakespeare’s loved one but is also aimed at anyone who chooses to read it. We can tell this by reading the first line as Shakespeare asks if he should “compare thee to a summers day?” This shows that he is talking to his loved one as summer is thought by most as a time when people are happy and enjoy themselves therefore; there is nothing better to compare her to than a summer’s day. He has also aimed this at other people as well. He has done this to teach people just how powerful writing can be.

Because he has written this poem, people use it today to say to their loved ones, which shows that the poem really has defeated time.”Let me not” is aimed is aimed at anyone who wants to read it but I think that it is particularly aimed at anyone who is not sure if they are in love or not. I believe this because Shakespeare uses this sonnet to teach people that love is not always ‘true love’. This poem could be beneficial to people who are not sure if they are in true love.The sonnet embedded in “Romeo and Juliet” is aimed a more general audience, which is anyone who is watching the play.

It is aimed at this audience because Shakespeare uses the sonnet to show how Romeo feels about Juliet.The three sonnets all follow the same pattern of a Shakespearean sonnet. They are all split up into three quatrains and then finally a couplet. The three quatrains all have alternate rhyming in them; this is the same in all of Shakespearean sonnets.

The couplet at the end also rhymes and is therefore a rhyming couplet. The three quatrains usually talk about the specific subject and them conclude at the end in the couplet. In the sonnets I have selected this structure is important. “Shall I compare thee…

?” and “Let me not” follow a slightly different use of the Shakespearean sonnet structure than the sonnet in “Romeo and Juliet”. “Shall I compare thee…

?” uses the first two quatrains to talk about how summer is not always as good as it is thought to be. The third quatrain is then used as a change of mood when Shakespeare uses the word ‘but’:”But thy eternal summer shall not fade.”Shakespeare uses this as a total change of mood and feeling, this is the pivotal point. First, he is talking about all of the things that people do not like about summer and is being very pessimistic. The he uses the power of just one word to change the whole mood of the poem as he looks at the good side of he person that he loves.

He then concludes by in the final couplet.This structure is also taken by “Let me not”. In the first two quatrains Shakespeare talks about what love is by personifying love. He talks

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