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The Timeless Themes of Shakespeare


What makes a story a story? Is it the desire to enter a different space along with following an interesting character, or is it the different settings that a character may go through? It is both these things and none of these things for without themes the two could not exist. This is something that I tell myself when I am creating the foundation and progressing through the stories that I write and to think that other authors would not do the same is absurd. William Shakespeare is no exception to this. Whether it be plays or poems, Shakespeare lets it be known of what he writes. It can be a tragedy, a love story, or a combination of the two; however, one cannot deny that Shakespeare knew how to connect the audience as well as the readers with his themes. ‘Sonnet 29’ says “I all alone beweep my outcast state,

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,

And look upon myself, and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,

Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope” (Shakespeare lines 2-7). Through these lines, we understand that one of the themes of the sonnet is despair. Our character is depressed, has lost all hope, and has become this state of hopelessness. With the theme of despair and the showing of our characters conflicts, they have created this foundation for this poem and have already thrown the reader right into the world of the story. Allowing them to connect with the character. I believe this is the reason why Shakespeare is still relevant today. The way he was able to create these stories through different forms of literature that allow the reader or the audience to connect with these characters so effortless is inspiring.

Works Cited

Shakespeare. “Sonnet 29”. British Literature I: Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century and Neoclassicism, Vol. 17, English Open Textbooks, 2018, pp. 1177-1184.


Willam Shakespeare’s work is widely regarded to be some of the most timeless works of literature to be written. This is most likely attributed to the subtle themes within his works being most grounded in people as a whole. Themes of revenge, love, death, and jealousy are common within his works, most notably in plays such as Romeo and Juliet and in his sonnets such as Sonnet 18. Shakespeare’s sonnet 18 is more or less a love letter to a significant other, comparing their appearance to a summer’s day and how that beauty will not fade, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate”. (Shakespeare 18) Comparisons like these are common in these sonnets, which is similar to how someone would try to engage with another person here in the modern day. Sonnet 18 in particular shows the timeless nature of Shakespeare and his works. Lines 13-14 read as “So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see. So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.” (Shakespeare 13-14). These last lines roughly translate to, as long as this sonnet remains relevant, you will live on. Shakespeare’s goal with this sonnet has become a reality, as the recipient of praise still lives on today in the form of this sonnet due to its continuous relevance. As long as his works remain, Shakespeare’s influence on modern culture will never die. The sonnets function as a form of time capsule, to not only see how far we as a civilization have come but to show how little human nature changed over time.

Robinson, Bonnie J and Getty, Laura, British Literature I: Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century and Neoclassicism, (2018) English Open Textbooks 17
https://oer.galileo.usg.edu/english-textbooks/17, pp. 1177-1184

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