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Love

Beatrice’s Sonnet

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Beatrice closes Act 3 scene 1 of Much Ado About Nothing, speaking a sonnet.* Shakespeare occasionally used sonnets in his plays, for example, in Romeo and Juliet and Richard III, which were examined in previous essays. He didn’t insert these sonnets arbitrarily. He intended to achieve particular effects,
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The Architecture of Sonnet and Song

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Let’s begin by stipulating that Ira Gershwin is not William Shakespeare. However, despite the gulf that separates their talents, they share some writing techniques that are useful tools for aspiring writers. For example, Shakespeare’s sonnet, That Time of Year, and Gershwin’s song, They Can’t Take That Away from Me*, are variations on a common template,
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Shakespeare and the Casting Couch

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Stories about women summoned as supplicants to the portals of men with the power to grant their wishes, for a price, are common across professions, across countries, across millennia. Shakespeare dramatized the dilemmas some of these women faced in more than one of his plays.

In both Henry VI Part 3 and Measure for Measure, for example,
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Unhappy Fortune! The Plague in the Plays

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Shakespeare killed scores of his characters — by sword, by dagger, by poison, by flame, by drowning, by hanging, by murder, by suicide, by accident — men, women, children, all ages, killed by many means, even by a bear. But the deaths of only two of his central characters can be attributed to the plague, and even then, only by proximate cause, not directly by the plague.
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The Sadness of the Merchant

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In the opening lines of The Merchant of Venice, the young merchant Antonio is questioned by his friends about his sadness. His friends Salarino, Solanio and Gratiano attempt to determine why Antonio is sad. Antonio denies that his sadness is about his concern for his investments in merchandise at sea. When asked if his melancholy is because he is in love,
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Sonnets in Romeo and Juliet

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Shakespeare, who had begun writing his sonnets sometime in the 1590’s, decided that the form would be useful in Romeo and Juliet. In fact, he wrote four sonnets in the play. The first, spoken by a chorus, opens Act 1. The second appears in Act 1, Scene 5, and it is dialogue spoken by Romeo and Juliet.
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Love and Water

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The Comedy of Error’s concluding dialogue between Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse neatly ties up an underlying theme of this farce, that true love — brotherly, marital or other — renders the lovers indistinguishable, “Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother.” But this metaphor of the mirror at the end of the play is a shift from the similes of drops of water that recurred previously.
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Appearance and Deception

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A recurring theme in many of Shakespeare’s plays, and central to Much Ado About Nothing, explores how easily people are deceived not just by the false testimony of others but even by their own senses. Claudio, believing he was deceived by Don John, learned to place no trust in the words of others. With “Let every eye negotiate for itself,”
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Friars, Friends and Deceivers

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Friar Francis in Much Ado About Nothing (4.1.221), like Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, is a sympathetic character who aids the romantic interests of the young lovers. Both friars fashion a conspiracy whose central conceit is the fake death of the lady. Friars fare better than the Catholic hierarchy in Shakespeare’s plays, even though the friars are as devious in their means as cardinals and archbishops.
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Seduction or Harassment?

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Shakespeare delights in the seduction ceremonies of bright men with even brighter women. These dialogues, whether between adolescents like Romeo and Juliet, more mature characters like Henry V and Princess Katherine, or seasoned adults like the widow Lady Grey and the sexual harasser King Edward, in this scene (3HenryVI 3.2.36), give Shakespeare opportunities to employ dazzling webworks of rhetorical exchanges.
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Let me not to the marriage of true minds

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Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.Synecdoche
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove.Polyptoton

O, no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

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Two loves I have, of comfort and despair

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Two loves I have, of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still.
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman colored ill.
To win me soon to hell my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
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Better Angels

When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes

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When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes
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,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
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To me fair friend you never can be old

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To me fair friend you never can be old
For as you were when first your eye I eyed
Such is your beauty still.
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Here the anthem doth commence

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Here the anthem doth commence:
Love and constancy is dead,
Phoenix and the turtle fled
In a mutual flame from hence.

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Beauty, truth, and rarity

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Beauty, truth, and rarity,
Grace in all simplicity,
Here enclosed, in cinders lie.

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Love is a spirit all compact of fire

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Love is a spirit all compact of fire.
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Two households, both alike in dignity

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Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudgeParenthesis
break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.Antanaclesis & Synecdoche
From forth the fatal loins of these two foesAlliteration, Oxymoron & Synecdoche
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
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If music be the food of love

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If music be the food of love, play on.
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken and so die.
That strain again! It had a dying fall.
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor. Enough; no more.
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
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Be thou blessed, Bertram

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Countess 
Be thou blessed, Bertram, and succeed thy father
In manners as in shape. Thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright.

Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none

Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to noneIsocolon
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