Essay on Edna St. Vincent Millay And Sonnet 18 By William Shakespeare

1289 Words Apr 2nd, 2016 null Page
Separated by three hundred years, Millay and Shakespeare bring to light opposing ideas on love’s effect on the human condition. “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” by Edna St. Vincent Millay and “Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare investigate erotic and platonic love in a similar yet contrasting manner. Millay’s poem explores personal grief when passionate love wanes with age. Shakespeare’s poem, on the other hand, depicts platonic love for a friend who, to the narrator, is the epitome of perfection. The poems have similar form: both are Petrarchan sonnets and both possess iambic pentameter. However, differences in rhyme scheme, meter, and punctuation set the poems apart. Literary devices such as metaphors and imagery of seasons and weather exist in both poems but convey different tones. Even though the poems have similar structure and literary devices, they portray different aspects of love. Shakespeare and Millay’s poems are both Petrarchan sonnets; however, they contain different narrators and rhyme schemes. A sonnet is a fourteen-line lyrical poem that typically investigates love. “Sonnet 18” has “an idealised concept of man rather than a woman” (Crews 48). Shakespeare explores platonic love where the narrator, likely not himself, dotes his close male friend. Contrarily, Millay is a “poet of the erotic impulse” (Epstein xii). She writes on her own loss of sexual love with age. The decline of numerous lovers causes her grief. A typical Petrarchan sonnet…

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