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This is not necessarily the result of any shortcoming on the reader's part.
This is not the case with Shakespeare's handling of the sonnet.
One of the most common mistakes made by new readers of his sonnets is the presumption that they are logical vehicles through which Shakespeare presents a cogent expression of certain ideas.
It would seem, then, that these brief pieces would be relatively easy to comprehend and explain.
Nevertheless, those who come to these verses for the first time are likely to be perplexed; even after several readings, the sonnets may prove hard.
In attempting to grasp a Shakespeare sonnet, the reader must be aware that there is no correct answer as to what it means, but rather a range of possible responses from the reader.
The sonnets have musical qualities, with the tempo of the piece and the sounds of its words being as significant as the content they denote.
The former are encouraged in their identification of the narrator as the poet himself by the fact that the sonnets are the only work in which Shakespeare wrote in the first person singular.
Beyond this, however, the collective evidence that it is Shakespeare himself speaking about his own actual life in the sonnets is purely circumstantial and internally inconsistent.
In 1591, a year or two before Shakespeare began to write sonnets, Sir Philip Sydney's sonnet cycle was first published, and its immediate popularity among Elizabethan aristocrats inaugurated a vogue that many other poets tried to exploit.
By then, Shakespeare had established his renown as a dramatist and dedicated his artistic labor exclusively to the theater.