Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Sonnet 8

Music is the new image in Sonnet 8, from flowers to seasons and even the mighty sun, the Fair Youth has refused to yield. Will it be music to perform the elusive task of convincing the steadfast youth to finally have children.
The first line, "Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?" seems to refer to the message the persona has been trying to relay all along. A sweet melody, ear candy he portrays the gospel of having offspring as and yet the Fair Youth listens ever disapprovingly.  Why? Shakespeare asks does the Fair Youth insist on interpreting the plea for reproduction negatively. Is it not only logical that the Youth's beauty and that of his children can only be positive just as "joy delights in joy."
Lines 3 and 4 pose the question of why the Youth took upon the mantle of beauty in the first place seeing as he cannot do what is required, to bear offspring. The theme of deception suddenly pops up as it once seemed the Youth was happy with the gift of beauty and yet now his behavior only reflects otherwise.
The second quatrain serves as the gist of the sonnet. It casts the image of an orchestra, all the entwined melodies combining in smooth unison just as a family is meant to be. Use of the compound, "well-tuned"  conjures the feeling of perfection supposedly pervading the image of the 'true concord' a perfection which can exist in the Fair Youth's life if the concord is fittingly completed by the presence of a child. Even with such an analogy, the persona seeks to cater for the doubt that might still linger by addressing it before-hand by affirming that this whole message, pleading, imploring is naught but a sweet chiding. If by any chance the Youth was to become defensive, Shakespeare has created the impression that this is at most just an expression of advice albeit a strong and intricately constructed one.
Direct reference to marriage in "one string sweet husband to another," just about spells out what the persona requires from the Fair Youth, what the World needs  him to do and quite possibly what he should just do. Line 11 puts as plainly as possible, a happy family of three, sire(Youth), a child and a 'happy mother.' One is forced to wonder whether this mother would be happy just like any other after bearing a child or is this to be some form of extra happiness to be drawn solely from bringing into the world, the one child who's birth is so eagerly anticipated.
As is characteristic of Shakespeare's sonnets, the final couplet gives a rather categorical conclusion, one that might be somewhat harrowing for the Fair Youth, some might say hyperbolical but as in all the Sonnets before this, it is one that invokes quite an element of food for thought.

"Thou single wilt prove none," the Fair Youth's very existence will come to no fruition if he is to remain single. In a broad sense there would be no memory of him. No legacy, no trace of there ever having been that inexplicable beauty. Now a traceless existence, one without any resultants is probably no existence at all yet all can be solved by having offspring.