Shakespeare's Sonnets

Sonnet 35: Shakespeare’s Civil War College

In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35 we delve deeply into Shakespeare’s thoughts, emotions and frustrations with his lover, the young man (the Fair Youth), which was brought about by an apparent betrayal through infidelity. Within this sonnet and those preceding it, we see the progression of a theme, which had begun in Sonnet 33, and then elaborated on in Sonnet 24, that alludes to the young man’s “treachery” and “betrayal” of Shakespeare. While reading this Sonnet, it is obvious that Shakespeare underwent an apparent internal dispute within himself regarding his feelings on the “fair youth’s” affair with another woman or man. It is imperative to note the duality of tone in this poem. One one side, Shakespeare is forgiving towards the fair youth because he loves him too much to continue resenting him, and is almost convincing himself that his behaviors are excusable. But on the other hand, Shakespeare is painfully aware that in justifying the actions of his beloved youth, he too is offending himself because such actions are usually disrespectful to the person who remained dutifully loyal.

In Sonnet 35, Shakespeare acts as both the defender of his fair youth’s disloyalty and the defendant that is guilty in the sense that he too is at...

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