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Shakespeare's Sonnets: Crash Course Literature 304

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This week, we're learning about sonnets, and English Literature's best-known purveyor of those fourteen-line paeans, William Shakespeare. We'll look at a few of Willy Shakes's biggest hits, including Sonnet 18, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day," Sonnet 116, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment," and Sonnet 130, "My mistresses's eyes are nothing like the sun." We'll talk about what makes a sonnet, a little bit about their history, and even a little bit about how reading poetry helps us understand how to be human beings.
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Text Comments (626)
Ved Sharma (3 days ago)
You speak too fast to understand
Rex Cosmos (23 days ago)
I genuinely feel bad when Young Green gets put down by present Green (and it’s always hilarious.)
divya Yadav (28 days ago)
True love is my favourite💜
PunkyGrace (1 month ago)
A little tip for recognizing iambic pentameter is the words sound like a heart beat, you know that Da Dum Da dum effect. Which is handy to remember since iambic pentameter is used in a lot of love poems.
Another Youtube User (1 month ago)
6:49 Sonnet 18
Luna Yuvina (1 month ago)
Thanks a lot for this incredible video ! You blushed at the end, you're definitely in love ! 😄
Denise Usagi (1 month ago)
I love that he made clear that humanizing your partner is a lot more romantic than romanticizing them. People look weird and have bad breath and I don't think it's romantic to hide all these "flaws" that aren't flaws in order to make your partner seem perfect.
Patrick Tilton (2 months ago)
2:50 "We're all sure that Shakespeare wrote them, so that's settled..." Leave it to a Stratfordian to say something as stupid as that. William Shakspere of Stratford couldn't write his own name the same way twice, as evidenced by the 6 sole signatures he left behind. His will mentions no books, no unpublished manuscripts, nothing connecting him to a career as a writer. He neither wrote letters that have survived nor wrote any letters that anybody else kept -- this despite the fact that the name "William Shakespeare" or even just the initials "W.S." were enough to get quartos to sell. Shakspere was not Shakespeare. The name "William Shakespeare" was the pseudonym of Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, and the Sonnets he wrote are his most personal poetry. And there's a clever encoded message hidden in the Dedication page of the Sonnets, which reads: "TO.THE.ONLIE.BEGETTOR.OF.THESE.INSVING.SONNETS.Mr.W.H.ALL.HAPPINESSE.AND.THAT.ETERNITIE.PROMISSED.BY.OVR.EVER-LIVING.POET.WISHETH.THE.WELL-WISHING.ADVENTVRER.IN.SETTING.FORTH.T.T." This oddly-formatted Dedication is organized into 3 upside-down triangles of text comprising 6 + 2 + 4 lines, for a total of 12 lines, followed by the initials "T.T." [presumably those of Thomas Thorpe. If you count the words in the Dedication and count to the 6th word, then the 2nd word after that, then the 4th word after that, then continue on until you run out of words, you get the message: "THESE SONNETS ALL BY EVER THE FORTH T." What does it mean, by "EVER"? And what does "THE FORTH T" [i.e. the 4th "T"] mean? Alexander Waugh has some brilliant YouTube videos delving into these fascinating hidden messages in this obviously cryptic Dedication page, so type in "Alexander Waugh" in the YouTube search bar and check it out. "EVER" is Edward de Vere, who used the word "Ever" as a "posie" -- a motto or signature in lieu of his own actual name in poetry anthologies published during Elizabeth's reign. Incidentally, the Title Page of the Sonnets also contains magnificent encryptions that prove beyond all doubt that Edward de Vere was the author behind the pseudonym "Shakespeare". And you'll never know it if you continue to get your biographical data concerning Shakespeare from the Stratfordians, who are wrong, and have always been wrong, about who he was and how he came to be. The Stratfordian connection to Lord Oxford is a red herring, intended to distract the attention of shallow-thinking people away from the truth. The First Folio presents us with the ridiculous image engraved by Martin Droeshout, accompanied by a 10-line poem [by "B.I." -- probably Ben Jonson] telling the Reader to "looke / Not on his picture, but his booke." The shallow reader looks at the picture and assumes it's a picture of Shakespeare . . . but glosses over the admonition NOT TO LOOK AT THE PICTURE. "Shakespeare" was the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere. It's no longer just a theory -- it's a proven fact. He was initially buried at Hackney, but was later reburied at Westminster Abbey, and the Shakespeare statue at Poet's Corner is directly over the spot where his mortal remains were eventually interred, in the company of Beaumont, Chaucer, and Spenser . . . just as the Stratford Monument's inscription cleverly says, in its Latin couplet, with its references to Nestor, Socrates, and Virgil representing those English poets. Alexander Waugh's videos on YouTube prove this beyond all doubt.
LokiRudder (2 months ago)
Correction: We do not know if Shakespeare even lived let alone wrote all the works ascribed to him. They were most likely written by Bacon.
Rahul kancherla (3 months ago)
Shakespeare has or had or is the big gay
Nisha Tiwari (3 months ago)
Nice explanation🙏
Leah Hart (3 months ago)
Perhaps a reason Shakespeare's sonnets didn't sell as well as his plays is because theater was more Democratic in those days. Both rich and poor could take part. Also plays don't require literacy, sonnets do.
Leah Hart (3 months ago)
Sonnets 1-17 be like Young man! You gotta settle down I said young man! Stop your sleeping around!
Greggory McCarthy (4 months ago)
If you're here for Godfrey's class dm me on IG test_spook_boi and I'll send you the answers
alberto nanni (4 months ago)
Great series, but Laùra makes my ears bleed. It's Làura.
Tackle Box (4 months ago)
Seamlessly my hand flows a fast flash flood For the space most high, my mind places thee. Volcanic heart, bursts lava, writes with blood: Thou hath given inspiration to me. My love, my joy full of life, providing The faith I trace to only the divine. For no nature, no leaf bush handwriting Could make thee so perfectly to be mine. Though my flesh fails to know thine face so fair, It drys and cracks and smiles, for its love. My mind aches and my eyes, so distant, stare To meet thee again, though never enough. And one can only hope to find a way To wait for the date that whispers: someday. I wrote this sonnet and it’s about a girl I like a lot and I can’t share it with anyone so I thought I’d put it here.
VandaB (3 months ago)
it's lovely!
Nanoubonbon (4 months ago)
Even the species...
Saanjaly Srivastava (5 months ago)
I am a 10th grade student in India and I am astonished at the straightwashing of Shakespeare done in our English textbook. While our teacher was explaining Sonnet 55 'Not Marble,Nor the Gilded Monuments', in the first stanza, she explained that Shakespeare wrote this poem to his beloved mistress. In the later stanzas,she changed the pronoun to 'he' and explained it was addressed to his friend. However , if you read the poem it is extremely clear that the person to whom the poem is addressed to is a man and possibly romantically involved with Shakespeare. When I confronted my teacher about the fluctuations of the pronouns, she aggressively scolded me and told me not to "think of such things". As a young girl questioning her sexuality, it troubles me to see such ignorance in people.
David Gontar (5 months ago)
Who is this guy?
Weronika (5 months ago)
0:38 John says the shakespearean stanza (...) consists of three four line stanzas. Did he mean shakespearean sonnet?
sbowesuk (6 months ago)
GG - Shakespeare saying "good game" before it was cool.
hemalata bhat (6 months ago)
Thank You so much
Whatsapuppy (7 months ago)
The better Angel is a man right fair; the worser spirit is a woman coloured ill". This might be the first instance of anyone suggesting "bros before hoes"? (Not being cute, seriously posing this thought)
Caleb Shelton (7 months ago)
Could the young man be a younger version of himself?
SixPomegranateSeeds (7 months ago)
I love a cheery reminder of my own mortality.
傅子轩 (7 months ago)
Full of knowledge!
Revile Paragon (8 months ago)
Bi-liam Shakespeare
Ces Gra (8 months ago)
Lauuuuura 😂😂😂
Amruta Manchekar (8 months ago)
Pls do Merchant of Venice
Eik Haraldsdottir (9 months ago)
I think Shakespeare himself would not care whether the love poems were interpreted as written to a man or women - that is immaterial, if you think it is important then you do not know love.
I Can Play The Piano (9 months ago)
I only see these courses because of how enthusiastically you present it!!! I only see these courses because of YOU John Green 😊😊😊☺️☺️☺️😃keep it up!!
Madison Zardiackas (9 months ago)
I'm such a literature hoe
Cal (9 months ago)
I've dated guys like Petrarch. It sounds all well and good but it's like a freaking nightmare.
An annoying Twat (9 months ago)
I’m surprised that John didn’t mention hamnet who died in 1596 when the sonnets where supposedly wrote
Sophie M (9 months ago)
watching this on Shakespeare's birthday :>
Crazy Control (10 months ago)
shakespeare the savage
Chloe C (10 months ago)
Shakespeare could definitely be bi?
nomeutente61 (11 months ago)
Conspiracy theory: the dark lady was a poet, and she wrote poems about other lovers of hers: "And yet by Jove I think my love as rare/ as any [of those whom] she belied with false compare." This is why he seems so ashamed and tormented in loving her.
Joshua Hillman (11 months ago)
Mr. Green, Thank you for the time you take to make both informative and fun videos. These have been immeasurably helpful to my 8th grade students when trying to understand complex literary themes and ideas. So on behalf of all the teachers out there "borrowing" your information, I thank you.
Naushad Sagar (11 months ago)
the prominent lecture of my life
Natasha Troyka (11 months ago)
The romanticization of Laura by Petrarch reminds me a lot of Gatsby and Daisy.
Anaghaa Viswanathan (11 months ago)
Make one on Julius Caesar. Awesome video...
Deioth (11 months ago)
Did my eyes deceive me or did I simply look away at the wrong moment and miss it? We're talking about comparing to a summer's day and yet no Star Trek TNG reference? No Shakespear in a red captain's uniform at the very least!? You pull off the perfect Florida and Idaho Simpson's reference in a previous Literature vid, AND MISS PICARD'S EPIC THROWDOWN AGAINST DAIMON TOG? Shame! *bell ding*
imad Lebiar (11 months ago)
John is the best !!!
Mry 98 (11 months ago)
Thank you soooo much!God bless ya!
ZMM (1 year ago)
Shakespeare means jerking off
Selin Gunderen (1 year ago)
Can you talk about Othello?
"shall i compare you to summer's day?" No thank you.
Robert Palumbo (1 year ago)
our love time can not ware
Robert Palumbo (1 year ago)
the weird f
Robert Palumbo (1 year ago)
over heat he gave him sway ,,, letting warmth go either way
Cassandra W (1 year ago)
Why didn't they pick sonnet 141?
Stefan Massyn (1 year ago)
Shakespeare liked wang. Who'd have thought.
Jesús Hermosillo (1 year ago)
I like this, but it’s way too fast for discussing poetry.
Cosmo XVII (1 year ago)
Where can I find his mixtape?
IskenThink (1 year ago)
You should cover some of Dostoevsky's work
thangerstrings (1 year ago)
I'm doing some research on Shakespeare for a theater project atm and boy, he put lots of queer stuff in most of his plays Like sure, you can read all this stuff as bromances and gals being pals... but man lots of gay stuff in there just sayin'
Rebecca Johnson (1 year ago)
randomtrucks I think Shapeskeare was bi ... Actually, maybe pansexual. But they didn't have the words to describe that back then.
santosh kumar (1 year ago)
Please make for Much Ado About Nothing....By Shakespeare....
thangerstrings (1 year ago)
honestly the greatest play ever
michael benkosky (1 year ago)
I am totally gay over of John Green. Does such a fun, good job. Good videos.
shizyninjarocks (1 year ago)
I started watching this series to pass my CSET, but now I just like watching it.
Pudge Boyardee (1 year ago)
sluttish? how did we lose that one, sounds awesome to say out loud lol
Sonnet 57
Vishrut Kannan (1 year ago)
Im literally watching this because my dad is making me do work and this actually makes stuff fun
Donnie bills (1 year ago)
Shall i compare thee to a summers day is hands down one of Shakespeare's deepest lines. Especially how it fits into the sonnet itself.
ThePi Warrior (1 year ago)
Anabel V (1 year ago)
2:27, Papa bless.
Cece Burton (1 year ago)
I think he could very well be bisexual based in the excerpt you gave, but of course, I'm not a scholar.
zigaudrey (1 year ago)
6:19 This quote is true, yet beautiful. I wonder if Shakespears was inspired by Italian Sonnet and wrote variation of this form. "Love is not love". At first, I thought love is toxic, because it involve a individual living with another one and can't live if he get divorce or died at young age. Then, he become depress and find himself/herself weak. Love is supposed to exchange their feeling and accept their choice, like leaving or divorcing. Resisting to loneliness and be strong alone, even if this hurt. Unfornatly, Love is like a puzzle piece, they were so attached that they shatter brutally, like a broken heart. I believe that love is a weapon, not a need. I hope to read his sonnets in French. Speaking of which, do you teach Charles Baudelaire's poetries? I heard that his poem were translated into English that you can read them and study them. Charles was involved in Edgar Alan Poe's work as he translated them into French. Could be why he choose the word ''Spleen'' to define the existantiel anxiousness?
Bradley Katz (1 year ago)
You are awesome, thank you!
EarthForces (1 year ago)
Shakespearean sonnet inspired what we now put in the gaming lingo sa "gg"? Just noticing it.
Rob0 (1 year ago)
Talk Slower? xD XD
Alejandra Gomez (1 year ago)
were do you get your information from ?.. Because I cant cite videos in my essay ?
alessandro costetti (1 year ago)
Laura should be pronounced Làura and not Laùra...
datfox (1 year ago)
Uk hiiiiiiiistorrrrryyyyyyyyyy. Also scince we dont know the identity of the young man he could have been remembered for something else
MandyJMaddison (1 year ago)
2: 40, no, we don't know exactly who wrote them, but we DO know that they were published under the name of Shakespeare, and that someone referrring to himself as "Will" wrote the "Dark Lady" poems. I don't like to hear anyone being quite so blaze about the authorship, without investigating just how many, and how qualified are the people who believe that the corn merchant and part-owner of a theatre from Stratford-upon-Avon did not have either the formal education or the experience to have written the plays. It is a subject worthy of your investigation. Secondly, there is a very attractive portrait used at 5:47. It is NOT the Shakespeare depicted in the engraving of the first folio. Despite claims that have been made, the engraving is NOT based on this picture, but has similar characteristics to the well-known Chandos Portrait. (flared nostrils showing the philtrum of the nose, chiselled end to nose, wide concave cupid's bow and bald forehead.) The lace collar in this image is the finest Spanish needle-lace, and wearing it was as impressive as driving a Ferrari. This man is a member of the court. It is probably Thomas Overbury who was thrown in the tower and sensationally murdered to cover up a scandal. It is a great story. When an artwork comes newly to public sight, then it is ALWAYS claimed to be by Leonardo, or Michelangelo, or at the very least, to represent William Shakespeare. It must be one of these three, ecause no-one else it worth as much money, or as much kudos to those who declare the identification and present it to the public. In this case they even went to the effort of having a portrait bust made that is based on it. Thomas Overbury's erstwhile friends turned enemies would be laughing in their graves at having rendered him to anonymity. Handsome chap, wasn't he? King James himself was painted wearing a collar like this one.
Dean Blanton (1 year ago)
Luca Alberto Rizzo (1 year ago)
Big up for your great Italian pronunciation ! :)
Waxeye (1 year ago)
You spoil the lesson by claiming that Shaksper (actual spelling) the actor, was Shakespeare the anonymous author. Pity.
marisandinianimelove (1 year ago)
Possible plot twist of Doctor Who: The young man in the sonnet is the Doctor himself. Wouldn't that be hillarious
Spandan Banerjee (11 months ago)
marisandinianimelove And his companion the black mistress/dark lady?
Spandan Banerjee (11 months ago)
marisandinianimelove That would be awesome
Danny Adames (1 year ago)
Shall I compare thee to a Summer Day? Naaahhhh!
Elisha Prakash (1 year ago)
who is w.h
j. Baker (1 year ago)
His voice seems like it gets weak by the end of every sentence. He should get it checked out
Leilani Zhang (1 year ago)
2:51 when you forget to animate a section
Adele Cochrane (1 year ago)
What's the painting at 9:04?
Palel Catalin (1 year ago)
Adele Cochrane The Death of Chatterton by Henry Wallis
Sahir Khan SSEL (1 year ago)
thank you so much Mr. john green ... i am gonna take my exam tomorrow.. you have just done it for me.. thank you sir....
Grizabeebles (1 year ago)
Mad theory, having never read Shakepeare's sonnets: What if the blond man and the dark lady are his son Hamnet and his wife?
Renji Mao (1 year ago)
Shakespeare was a low-key gamer. His sonnets end in GG.
Thevin Silva (9 days ago)
+What Alien? good game
What Alien? (18 days ago)
What does GG mean?
Ayush Bagchi (2 months ago)
You're my favourite person on the internet now.
Anthony Birdsong (1 year ago)
Renji Mao that's so bad it's funny and hurts simultaneously.
Cinestar Productions (1 year ago)
This is probably the first time I'm using crash course to help me with a class.
XavlaminYT (1 year ago)
"This Machine kills fascists" That's quite offensive, mate.
Andy May (11 months ago)
XavlaminYT What else are we supposed to do with fascist?
luckyOcean_Cat (1 year ago)
Shakespeare was bi can we just agree on that
Lily Inéz (3 months ago)
or we can focus on his writing more than caring about that but okay
Em (4 months ago)
luckyOcean_Cat yessss
Snuggles McSquishbottom (7 months ago)
luckyOcean_Cat I couldn't care less if he was a green-skinned, four-armed dendrophiliac.
Spandan Banerjee (11 months ago)
sarah gouasmi (1 year ago)
Yes we can
pish posh (1 year ago)
isn't most of shakespeare's sonnets one big eulogy to his son who died at a very young age?
tigerwa (1 year ago)
No, some of them are clearly erotic.
Steven The Filmer (1 year ago)
I wanna understand, but the words are like a buzz, and I just wanna wasp it away. I love stories, but I cannot find my way to tell them. That is why I am eternally sad, and only when I've found that way, I shall be glad, and die happy. I have a problem with comparing, I believe. But when I hear you spout these words, and meaning of those sonnets, I literally just don't understand...
Merve Lav (1 year ago)
These videos really help my exams because I study American Literature
Victor Rosewood (1 year ago)
I don't know, I feel like it's not Shakespeare if it's not at least a little gay.
Devanshi Gupta (1 year ago)
We are learning Sonnet 116 for this semester and this helped me a lot. I really hope that you'll discuss more poets and their poems ahead!
Abcd123 (1 year ago)
Can someone please tell me who was the creator of stylometry?
Yaume Lepire (1 year ago)
"Hey, look! My mistress has onion breath!" Well, that's... blunt.
aislin soden (1 year ago)
please look at Sappho's poetry in the next cc literature !!
Chris (1 year ago)
His mistress had onion breath - totally nailed it
Eve Cameron (1 year ago)
Macbeth please !!!

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