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Symbolism in Shakespeare's Sonnets (Term Paper Sample)

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The task required the writer to highlight the use of symbolism in Shakespeare\'s sonnets

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Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Analysis of Seasonal Symbolism
The sonnets had their onset in the thirteenth and fourteenth century. They were a form of mundane exaltation of the poet’s feelings towards a dedicated personality. These were mostly their lovers, family or patrons. They were offered up as a form of the barter system whence the exulted nobleman would ensure the poet flourished. Shakespeare’s sonnets were dedicated to a Mr. W.H. The said identity has never been discovered past the initials though many scholars suppose it was the earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesly, of whom he dedicated some of his earlier poems such as Venus and Adonis (Berryman 20). The assumption is furthered by the fact that Shakespeare addressed the sonnets to a man. This was common practice at the time and he explored a variation of romance in each sonnet. Shakespeare sought to express this love and other varied emotions through seasonal symbolism. He used summer, autumn, winter and fall. This essay will critically expound on his varied use of seasonal symbolism in his sonnets.
Shakespeare uses the symbolism of seasons and as such employs pathetic fallacy. The aim of his symbolism is to show feeling and emotion and as such imbues the label of pathetic fallacy. Pathetic fallacy is the explaining away of human emotion due nature and inanimate objects, like seasons too. The symbolism in the sonnets lie wherein the speaker explains away his absence from the male as it being due to the freezing December days.
The reunion is planned for a ‘pregnant spring’. This device has been used to explain the isolation of the two who are fond of each other. In explaining emotions, autumn has been shown to represent fear or trepidation while winter was a symbol of misery. April has also been seen as a symbol of joy. All this has been garnered from the lines in the sonnet. For example, the speaker represents fear or trepidation by autumn in the likening of himself to autumn. Autumn precedes winter where everything freezes over and dies i.e. death. Therefore his fear or foreboding is autumn, the season where everything begins to go awry in preparation for death/winter. “Proudpied April” arrives and yet the speaker is still sad because of the solitude (Sonnet 98). This shows the symbolism in the joy of April as being sad is depicted as being in contrast to the arrival of April. The speaker feels as though it were still winter, an indication of the relevance of winter in melancholy.  “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” is the beginning of Sonnet eighteen. The symbolism is in the fondness held for a summer’s day (Berryman 214). The brightness of the day merits enjoyment and affection. The symbolism cont...
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