The Physical Beauty in Shakespeare’s Sonnets


  •  Chunli Ma    

Abstract

Beauty, one of the most reoccurring words throughout Shakespeare’s Sonnets, is the principal subject of the poet’s meditation. “From fairest creatures we desire increase, / That thereby beauty’s rose might never die” begins the first poem in the sonnet sequence, a statement about beauty that can be understood as the first articulation of the Sonnets’ aesthetic agenda. Beauty in Shakespeare’s Sonnets is represented in two dimensions: the physical beauty and the spiritual beauty. The physical beauty refers to the beauty of the body and the sensual pleasure derived from desires.By means of the illustration of the physical beauty, Shakespeare conveyed the aesthetical world which brings readers enjoyment and delight, moreover, the poet warns readers that the sensual pleasure should base on married chastity and social norms, otherwise, it would result in death and destruction. The account of sexual pleasure shows that on the one hand for enjoying the life itself, on the other hand, for leaving children behind to make the temporary time eternalized, thus returning back to timeless Garden of Eden. This returning course is the process of preserving beauty.This article only focuses on interpreting the physical beauty in the Sonnets, the part of the beauty in spiritual dimension will be presented in another one.



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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