Compare and contrast Sir Phillip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella (sonnet # 47) and William Shakespeare's sonnet # 1

Essay by kzharovaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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The Strange Thing Called Love

Despite the complexity of the sonnets that William Shakespeare and Sir Philip Sidney create, one is left with a feeling of total admiration for the rich language in each poem that forces its reader to pay very close attention to detail. The sonnets differ in the focus of metaphors for love and how this passion affects the poets; however, both of the poems intrigue their audience through their integration of ornate imagery in their portrayal of beauty and love.

There is perhaps no collection of English poetry more widely known and praised than Shakespeare's Sonnets. His brilliant ability to create over 150 sonnets, containing a series of related and mutually revealing metaphors has captivated his readers' minds for centuries. According to Murray Kreiger, "Shakespeare has a method of creating constitutive symbols in one sonnet and, having earned his right to them there, transferring them whole to another sonnet, with their full burden of borrowed meaning, earned elsewhere.

Thus a creative symbol in one sonnet becomes a sign, part of the raw materials in another" (73). As it briefly touches on many gripping ideas of love, the opening sonnet serves as a model for setting tone and acquainting the readers with the style of the series to follow, giving the readers a taste of what to expect:

From fairest creature we desire to increase,

That thereby beauty's rose might never die,

Fairest creatures represent all of those who are considered the most beautiful beings. Shakespeare reminds the man he loves of the need to preserve his beauty through procreation. Shakespeare writes this sonnet for a beautiful man whom he is in love with. He urges this man to follow the principle of reproduction and the improvement of one's generation, choosing the "fairest", or the most beautiful...