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ACampolattano - Short Essay
[author: Alex Campolattano - postdate: 2007-11-14]
[attachs vedi file allegato ]

 In the following essay I'll try to convince young pupils to study Shakespeare.  I'll organize  my essay into different parts to develop my argument. The firs part will introduce the  object of debate. The second one will be the main body and at last I will come to a conclusion mainly drawn on the basis  of my personal reading of some Shakespeare's  sonnets.

All English books state Shakespeare is a very important literary figure for the English (but not only) Renaissance, this is true but in my opinion it's only a commonplace! The important is to understand why he became famous all over the world! as a matter of fact I think that in order to became the more important literary figure in England you have to do something different from all the others poets. As a matter of fact I think that in his sonnets Shakespeare goes against the codified "standards" of the perfect woman of Italian  courtly love poetry.

In Italy the model of perfection for a woman could be synthesised as follows: she has  got long fair hair (always blond), fair complexion and blue eyes. The Italian model represents the perfect woman, who was seen as unattainable from all the other people, and the fair colours characterizing  her are symbolic. All that  means the perfect standard of woman reminded a sort of angel-woman. But, in his collection and especially from sonnet number 127 to sonnet 154, where the topic is the dark lady, Shakespeare describes her in oppositionto the standards of Italian poets.

In my opinion this is meaningful, because right from this  difference I understood he is the only one, who is able to go against the traditional conventions, outside the common to  "build" another set of values, including all his innovations in poetry.


Now I'll provide an example so you'll notice the way Shakespeare described the dark lady in the sonnet number 130: Shakespeare writes that the dark lady's eyes haven't got the same brightness of the sun, her lips are less red than the red of  coral, her breasts are dun in comparison with the snow.

In addition, her complexion has different shade and her breath doesn't smell nicely. The reader understands that Shakespeare  describes the dark lady in a manner which is neither romantic nor courtly. But he doesn't describes only the dark lady's faults but also her good points. As a matter of fact he says that he loves the  way she speaks, and the way she walks.

Shakespeare did not follow the typical style of walking of the corteous code in which the perfect way of walking is well represented in Botticell's  "La primavera". In the Renaissence  the  women painted did not even seem to touch the ground  and it looks as if they were  flying. Viceversa the way of walking of the dark lady is the opposite one in comparison with "La primavera".

The dark lady  "treads on the ground" and she is not prohjected into an ideal world as is the women painted in "La primavera".

I would also like to speak about is Sonnet nr. 20.

In this sonnet the poet gives the fair  youth, the person described in the sonnet, both female and male elements,; the reader may think the fair youth is a woman, but it isn't a woman, the fair youth is a man. This demonstrates  the argument I've just discussed so far that is Shakespeare's skil in going against trends.

The reader may interpret this piece of information as a possible suspect about Shakespeare's homosexuality, but  this is another commonplace,.

As a matter of fact very probably the man described in the sonnet may be Shakespeare's patron and socially superior.


In this essay I wanted to demonstrate the singleness of Shakespeare, and the power he had to transform something  awful (for example the dark lady) into something new and not only. There are many things I haven't understood yet about Shakespeare, and so I probably may not be that convincing  but at least I have tried and hopefully you will be fostered to go and read Shakespeare yourself