A critical reading of a Shakespeare sonnet
We continue our exploration of William Shakespeare’s sonnets with a brief analysis of Sonnet 9, yet another ‘Procreation Sonnet’ in which the Bard endeavours to find new ways of persuading the Fair Youth to marry and have children. ‘Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye’ is not a well-known sonnet, so a brief summary and paraphrase of the meaning of Sonnet 9 may be helpful, along with a bit of close analysis.
Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye,
That thou consumest thy self in single life?
Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
The world will wail thee like a makeless wife;
The world will be thy widow and still weep
That thou no form of thee hast left behind,
When every private widow well may keep
By children’s eyes, her husband’s shape in mind:
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