Shakespeare’s sequence of 154 sonnets should be read together because they interlock and create a narrative. The story revolves around the poet’s relationship with his two muses – a young man with whom he is infatuated, and then later, a “dark” woman.
The muses are used to break down the sonnets into three sequences, as follows:
The first 126 of Shakespeare’s sonnets are addressed to the fair youth with whom the poet has a deep and loving friendship. This sequence comprises many of Shakespeare’s most famous poems including ‘Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day?’ (Sonnet 18). Find out more with our introduction to Shakespeare’s Fair Youth Sonnets.
The Dark Lady Sonnets are the second sequence in Shakespeare's sonnets in which a "dark lady" enters the narrative and instantly becomes the object of the poet's desire. Our introduction to the Dark Lady Sonnets will reveal all ...
3. The Greek Sonnets (Sonnets 153 and 154)
The final two sonnets are very different and draw upon the Roman myth of Cupid, to whom the poet has already compared his muses.