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Word Count: 691
Sonnet 20 Over the centuries since the publication of Shakespeares Sonnets they have been subjected to a vast amount of analysis From this seemingly endless supply of critiques I have selected two that deal particularly with Sonnet 20 and its somewhat sexual ambiguity They both touch on the mystery of Shakespeares sexuality as well as the cultural significance of the seemingly homosexual undercurrents of the sonnet According to Bruce Smith this particular sonnet indicates a key change in the sequence In the previous sonnets the poets sexual feelings for this friend are curbed but have gradually become more prominent and are revealed as the poets focus Smith refers to the increased use of the word love and references to the poets own love throughout the first nineteen sonnets and claims that Questions about love reach a crisis in sonnet 20 Homosexual Desire in Shakespeares England Bruce Smith p249 Smith suggests that Shakespeare is trying to address one of the major issues in classical ethics which he often explores in his comedies of whether sexual desire for women is more important than masculine friendship Unfortunately the issue seems to be unresolved with the young man in the seeming to begrudgingly accept what nature has given him Smith highlights the puns of Prick and thing alluding to the male genitalia as innuendo working against moral innocence Smith surmises that the sonnet has very clear homosexual implications that are contrary to popular belief commonplace in that era Unlike Smith Nigel Davies took a different approach when analysing the sonnet as he suggests that the sonnet is clearly heterosexual He states It is curious that some see homosexuality in this poem when the poet clearly states that the subject being equipped with a male appendage literally defeats the prospect of a sexual relationship between the two that was there whilst the subject was originally fashioned by Nature to be a woman httpwwwgeocitiescomAthensTroy408120chtml Davies
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