William Shakespeare - Sonnet 57

Term Paper, 2006

8 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Sonnet 57

B Eing your ſlaue what ſhould I doe but tend,

Vpon the houres,and times of your deſire?
I haue no precious time at al to ſpend;
Nor ſeruices to doe til you require.
Nor dare I chide the world without end houre,
Whilſt I(my ſoueraine)watch the clock for you,
Nor thinke the bitterneſſe of abſence ſowre,
VVhen you haue bid your ſeruant once adieue.
Nor dare I question with my iealious thought,
VVhere you may be,or your affaires ſuppoſe,
But like a ſad ſlaue ſtay and thinke of nought
Saue where you are , how happy you make thoſe.
So true a fool is loue,that in your Will,
(Though you doe any thing)he thinkes no ill.

1. Being your slave what should I do but tend
2. Upon the hours, and times of your desire?
3. I have no precious time at all to spend;
4. Nor services to do, till you require.
5. Nor dare I chide the world without end hour,
6. Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
7. Nor think the bitterness of absence sour,
8. When you have bid your servant once adieu;
9. Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
10. Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
11. But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
12. Save, where you are, how happy you make those.
13. So true a fool is love, that in your will,
14. Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.

1. Introduction to Shakespeare's Sonnets

William Shakespeare is not only considered as one of the most famous playwrights of all times, he was even very productive when it came to writing poetry, especially sonnets. In 1609 a book called SHAKE-SPEARES Sonnets was published by Thomas Thorpe in London, which contained 154 sonnets and a longer poem, A Lover's Complaint. The immediate success continues until today, and no other book, except the bible, has been translated more often into German.

With only a few exceptions – Sonnets 99, 126, and 145 – Shakespeare follows the English form of the sonnet, which slightly differs from the Petrarchan sonnet. The English sonnet as a literary style reached England during the early 16th century through Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey, but it did not achieve much popularity until the 1590s, when the posthumous publication of Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella was widely celebrated and led other English poets to create their own sonnet collections. (Borgmeier 205f)

Shakespeare's sonnets can be seen as a continuation to the traditional Petrarchan style with some essential changes, especially in the character constellation. The relationship between the speaker and his beloved usually is presented very special and can be characterized as one-sided and unequal. The lady is praised and loved for her enormous beauty, grace and virtue; and as she is of superior rank, she can only reject the poets feelings. The speaker must remain in a state of excited amorousness but at the same time also hopeless despair. If the lady would answer his emotions, the Petrarchan poetry would lose its bases. (Borgmeier 206)

Many of Shakespeare's themes surely are conventional sonnet topics, such as love and beauty, but he treats these themes in his own, distinctive fashion, and, like in Sonnet 57, addresses the poems of love and praise not to a fair maiden but instead to a young man. The tender terms and the expressed jealousy that the speaker extends toward the beloved youth of the sonnets, led to an indication of a homo erotic relationship, even questions whether Shakespeare himself was engaged in sexual relationships with other men. By so breaking a taboo, Shakespeare overcomes the strict Petrarchan sonnet model; the relationship between speaker and addressed becomes more human and has therefore to deal with real human problems: rejection, treachery and rivalry.

Love, too, can be presented as an inspiration for transcendent art, with the lover claiming that he can externalize his beloved's worth and beauty by enshrining them in his poetry. Thus love and art can unite to triumph over time and its destructive effects, but at the same time can manifests itself as infatuation, turning the lover's head and blinding his judgement - aspects that were quite unusual for a traditional Petrarchan sonnet.


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William Shakespeare - Sonnet 57
Humboldt-University of Berlin  (Department of English and American Studies)
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William, Shakespeare, Sonnet
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Patricia Patkovszky (Author), 2006, William Shakespeare - Sonnet 57, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/62308


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