This essay examines the theatricality of Shakespeare’s young man sonnets and how he uses the “stage” as a shortcut to deliver abstract ideas such as the concept of beauty, time, and love that are otherwise difficult to express. On a micro level, he frames each individual sonnet as a stage, where each specific setting and scenario allows dramatic tension to arise between the characters on stage, and from there, abstract ideas and emotions are naturally presented without being directly stated. On a macro level, the entire young-man sonnet sub-sequence — being in love with a beautiful young man — itself is used as a stage. Shakespeare’s poetic self-consciousness and anxiety as a poet are naturally revealed on this stage.



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