The Shakespearean sonnets have been very popular and they have been widely read and celebrated. The 154 sonnets were like composed throughout the tenure from 1592 to 1598.
Most of these sonnets were addressed to a young man whose initials have been identified to be W.H.
The sonnets have been addressed to this young man who seemed to share a romantic relationship with the poet. However the first 17 sonnets have been in the attempt to convince the man to marry and have beautiful children through which he could ensure immortality and extension of his own self. Some of the later sonnets focus on the power of poetry and words as means to immortality. These Shakespearean sonnets have been celebrated as exemplary love poems down the centuries, despite their sexual orientation.
The overall sensual feeling of the sonnets goes overriding the barriers of love or sexual orientation. With the sonnets unfolding, both the young man and the poet seem to be consummated with a “dark lady” with raven hair and seductive qualities. The poet is in awe with the attraction presented through the dark lady and he has uncontrollable urges being allured by the charms of the dark lady. So there are different aspects to a love triangle that contest with the love of the young man and the poet along with the later involvement of the dark lady by the two pf them. All of these love poems are celebratory and have a sense of Horatian ode to them.
The poet’s views on immortality, art and love can be seen in close quarters through the layers of this poem. However in the absence of knowledge about Shakespeare’s personal life, we fail to understand whether the poems are related to Shakespeare’s own experiences or a fictitious fabrication or that of other lovers he knows. Just as the plays the sonnets could very well have been parts of his writing oeuvre without direct connotation to his personal life.
Or they could just be snippets and additions of both personal and impersonal experiences as well as observations of the world that have petered into the work as a uniting whole, as is present in most works of art.
Without clear distinctions to the backdrops of these works, the sonnets stand alone as significant works of art that have been celebrated down the ages. Love is the central theme of all these sonnets but the underlying tones talk about the brevity of life while love and art being present forever. The transience of beauty and the physical shell are other important aspects that have been concerning the poet, being expressed throughout these poems.
The trappings of desire and carnal love versus the purity of platonic love are also some of the associations to be found as themes of the later sonnet.