Shakespeare's Sonnets

A Religious Shakespearience: Christian Devotion Re-Worked in Sonnet 105, Sonnet 93, and Others College

While no scholars definitively know what Shakespeare believed, in terms of his religious views, his works (and particularly his sonnets) are replete with religious language and references. However, many times, this seemingly biblical and divine imagery is being used not to praise the Christian God or compliment the beauty of his creations, but instead to deify and glorify the young man of Sonnets 1 through 126. In Shakespeare’s sonnets, the speaker creates an alternative religion parallel to Christianity, in order to fulfill his spirituality through poetic immortalization, rather than an eternal afterlife. This is done through the deification of the Young Man, as well as by dissenting from the form of love-poetry that came before. In Shakespeare’s sonnets, the speaker establishes an alternative religion oppositional and equal to Christianity.

Now, by “oppositional”, I don’t mean the speaker’s “new religion” is directly antagonistic toward Christianity, I simply mean that for the speaker of the sonnets, this individualized, poetically-fulfilling religion replaces Christianity in terms of meeting his spiritual needs. This new religion of the speaker’s is shown consistently throughout the sonnets, predominately through Shakespeare...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1157 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8949 literature essays, 2367 sample college application essays, 392 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in