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Shall I Compare Thee To Another'S View Of Love?

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Shall I Compare Thee to Another's View of Love?

In Shakespeare's three sonnets and Francis Bacon's Of Love, two authors give their very different views of love. While Shakespeare's descriptions are sentimental and idealistic, his gushing is an excellent example of the kind of love Bacon criticizes in his work.

Shakespeare's Shall I compare thee to a summer's day is very straightforward in language and intent. It emphasizes the stability of love and its power to immortalize the poetry and the subject of that poetry. Shakespeare gives a description of a loved one that slowly builds into that of a perfect being. In response to this profound joy and beauty he finds, he feels he must ensure that this person be forever in human memory, by means of immortalization in verse.

In When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes the poet feels himself unlucky, disgraced, and jealous of those around him. His "outcast state" is likely a reference to Shakespeare's lack of work as a player due to the closing of London theatres in 1592. It also could be a reference to the attack on Shakespeare by Robert Greene in the same year. Shakespeare was deeply disturbed by this attack, feeling disgraced in "men's eyes" as well as fortune's. The poet is so depressed that even the passion for his profession as an actor seems to have died. However, in this poem he describes love as a ray of hope, and a source of courage and wealth. He reflects that no matter how unfortunate, depressed or downtrodden a person may be the thought of love alone can sustain him--that all is not lost and his loved one can compensate for his grief. He feels that love is such a rich asset that one who has it should "scorn to change [his] state with kings."

Let me not to the marriage of true minds is about love in its most ideal form. Shakespeare praises lovers who have come together freely, and have a relationship based on trust and understanding. He expresses pleasure in love that is constant and strong, and will not "alter when it alteration finds," expressing the perfect nature of love that is unshakeable throughout time and remains so "ev'n to the edge of doom", or death. He proclaims that true love is indeed an "ever-fixиd mark" which will survive any crisis, and goes on to reflect that the actual worth of love cannot be known for certain--it remains a mystery. In the final couplet, Shakespeare declares that, if he is mistaken about the constant, unmovable nature of perfect love, then he will take back all his writings on the subject and adds that, if he has in fact judged love inappropriately, no man has ever really loved, in the ideal sense that he describes.

Francis Bacon would be the one to tell Shakespeare that he has judged love inappropriately. First, Shakespeare views love as stable and powerful. While Bacon would agree that it is powerful, he would say that it is so in as very different sense than Shakespeare. Bacon feels that the type of wanton or erotic love that Shakespeare's sonnets border upon has the power of destruction



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