Shakespeare is one of the most celebrated playwrights and poets of the Elizabethan era. His works form such a huge part of English literature that it is considered a genre in itself. Shakespeare’s sonnets are an inevitable part of literature education and various aspects related to his works and his personal life are still topics for various writing assignments like research papers and essays.

Before trying to prepare an assignment about Shakespeare’s sonnets, it is advisable to understand some basic facts about the theme implicated in them. The first thing to know is that there are very few proven facts about Shakespeare’s life and the authorship of his works. Most of the aspects are highly debated and still under research. Whatever is known is based mostly on speculations woven out of the available details.

His sonnets come to a total of 154 poems, written on themes like beauty, love, deceit, morality and time. These were supposedly written somewhere around the late 16th century. These sonnets can be divided into groups according to the theme projected in it.

The first 17 sonnets address a young man, one of extreme beauty, urging him to marry and procreate thus passing his beauty onto another generation. These sonnets are collectively called procreation sonnets as they all talk about the young man’s beauty becoming immortal through procreation. The sonnets from 18 to 126 were about the poet’s immense love for the young man. These sonnets picture a very intense and ‘sinful’ romantic affair between the poet and the young man. And those which were written after that portray a woman who managed to generate passionate love in both the young men. She has been talked about negatively as ‘the seductress’ and the poet has expressed his uncontrollable attraction towards her.

These last set of sonnets have different themes – intense love, immense beauty, uncontrollable lust, extreme guilt, painful deceit and deep passion. The woman portrayed in these final sonnets is speculated to be his mistress who was not fully loyal to him.

There have been debates on whether the sonnets were autobiographical or not. But it is not possible to reach a conclusion on the fact since the available information on the poet’s personal life is not all reliable. But it should be noted that, during those days, sonnets were used to express the most personal feelings and were not revealed or published to those outside the most intimate folks.

The themes of Shakespeare’s sonnets have proved to be interesting topics for research papers. But the research involved in this might not be easy as it is very difficult to find established facts about the poet and his works. His sonnets are among the most beautiful literary works of all times. They are very good examples of how words can transform even the most painful events into something that is so immaculate and divine.

Writing an academic assignment on Shakespeare’s sonnets will be a very interesting experience if you have followed your interests to choose the subject of English literature.