1993 Volume 1 Issue 1 Pages 35-44
At his early hours of his career Shakespeare experienced plague years-1592 to 1594,when the theatres in London were closed because of the epidemic. During the period the poet wrote two narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, and probably the first 17 sonnets, Richard III and Titus Andronicus. Venus and Adonis was published in 1593 and The Rape of Lucrece in 1594. The two poems were dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, who was presumably "the fair youth" in The Sonnets. Venus and Adonis is very close to the first 17 sonnets which are often called "the Marriage Sonnets". Not only have they very similar expressions but they share the same themes and intentions. This essay endeavours to detect the similarities between Venus and Adonis and the first 17 sonnets, and examine the themes and messages they have in common. The conclusion is that this narrative poem as well as the marriage sonnets was written to persuade the fair youth to marry and beget an heir in order to survive the plague. The poet wished the young earl to live through the lines of life for ever.