William Shakespeare’s Warning

Length: 4 Pages 910 Words

William Shakespeare uses “Sonnet 95” to reveal corruption of youth and beauty. More specifically, the sonnet speaks of the corruption of a young man due to his own “sins” (6) and sexual accomplishments and the glorification he earns from this. Shakespeare’s diction and meter clearly reveal this twisted tale of vice’s destruction of virtue. A critical analysis can evoke this tale and the warning Shakespeare makes to this beautiful young man regarding his life and promiscuous activities. Shakespeare reveals the beauty of the young man in the first line with words “sweet” (1) and “lovely” (1), but overshadows this character with implied “shame” (1). This is not the common meaning of shame but is the sin that blossoms after premarital sexual encounters. This traditional Shakespearean (abab) rhyme scheme further implies that this becomes more than shame, but “a canker in the fragrant rose” (2). “[F]lower” (2) in this line refers to this young man’s great beauty, but “canker” (2) destroys this beauty. The meaning that Shakespeare speaks of is a worm or maggot that matriculates inside and destroys the flower. The worm kills the flower from the inside out and is not discovered until the flowe Continue...


The "sweets (4) are the fine looks the character possesses, with which he is able to "enclose (4) or hide his disease. Line 8 also contains trochees in the first and third foot. Despite the criticisms of his sins, speaking his name heightens the man to a more beautiful level. I feel the spondee in line 8 is significant since it stresses the name of the character. This privilege if "ill-used (14) could become ineffective, and this young man could lose his charm, or "edge (14). A critical analysis of the complexities of the second, (cdcd), quatrain, reveal a great irony within the sonnet. Lines 11 and 12 reveal this ironic power he has. An initial spondee begins the third quatrain of "Sonnet 95, without great significance, but merely to stress the great amount of "vices (9), (sexual sins), the young man has built upon him. The "beauty's veil (11) covers the "blot (11), being the sin of sexual preying mentioned in the first quatrain, or this blot could be physical disease or syphilis, which would connect the sonnet to the finalizing couplet. This stain could be an internal vice or could possibly be the physical repercussions, (syphilis), of sexual promiscuity. The irony of quatrain 2 lies in the "ill reports (8) of the people, for it is these reports that praise him and add to his elegance and grace. It can then be seen that the flower is destroyed, but not until the flower blossoms. This stain is the evil inside this young beautiful man, referred to as the "budding name (3), which unknowingly shames him.