Discuss the conflict between Platonic love and carnal lust captured in the figures of the fair lord and the dark lady, respectively.
A: "Love" is a multifaceted term, and Shakespeare explores it in all its permutations in his sonnets: love as friendship, love as family, love as devotion, love as affection, love as lust, love as sex. How does the poet express his love for the fair lord differently from how he expresses his love for the dark lady? And does he value one kind of love over another?
William Shakespeare explores love as a multifaceted term in his sonnets, where the narrator is consistently at war with himself over his love for the young man and his love for the dark lady. Each love is expressed differently, demonstrating how he values love as affection and devotion over love as lust. In sonnets 18, 26, 129, 138, and 147, Shakespeare portrays the narrator’s conflicting views on love through the use of metaphors, imagery, alliteration and diction. In brief, all five of these sonnets convey the pure love preferred for the young man over the lustful desires for the dark lady.
In sonnet 18, the narrator uses an extended metaphor to exude his devotion for the young man. He compares the young man to a summer’s day, stating how he is “more lovely and more temperate”.
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