By Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom
This learn consultant features a choice of feedback in the course of the centuries on Shakespeare's sonnets, besides an advent, research of key strains, and extra.
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Additional info for The Sonnets (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages)
The relationship does seem to have been intense enough that the Young Man’s “sweet love” sustains the speaker during hard times (29), and more problematically, the List of Personas in The Sonnets 19 speaker could feel betrayed, or else conflicted, when triangles occur between himself, the Young Man, and another. Thus sonnets 40–42 dramatize a social scandal that many take to be the Young Man’s cheating on the speaker with a woman known to them both, who just may be the Dark Lady of the last series of sonnets.
Similarly, the speaker begs Time not to “carve my love’s fair brow” in sonnet 19, and this “fair friend” (sonnet 104), or the speaker’s love for him, is described in these terms elsewhere (sonnets 21, 43, 46, 69, 82, 83, 105, and 108). The “beauty” of the Young Man is brought up just as frequently, though sometimes in compromising contexts. For example, the speaker takes pains to discuss the Young Man’s beauty in the earliest sonnets because he seeks to warn him that his beauty will not last, and so he should have an heir who will continue his beauteous form.
This new addressee surfaces in sonnet 127 and remains through the end of the sequence (again, presumably) or at least till sonnet 152 if the less personal, more derivative sonnets 153 and 154 are judged to be separate—either emblematic epilogues following the Dark Lady poems or an envoi that turns from the sonnets as a whole to A Lover’s Complaint, the long concluding poem in the 1609 quarto edition of The Sonnets. Although Shakespeare provides no explicit clues, it is just possible that the Dark Lady enters the sequence in sonnets 40–42, which dramatize a crisis in the speaker’s and Young Man’s relationship because of the latter’s affair with a woman.