I am, of course referring to Shakespeare’s sonnets. The most obvious element of the 154 sonnets has not been entertained. Perhaps this is because… I will not say it is due to the fact that no analysis of these sonnets has been performed by a poet. No, rather it is more possible that no poet or non poet, for that matter, has ever undertaken (as have I) to write a sequence of poems (and specifically sonnets) to himself.
Anyone who is familiar with me in the least will know that I tend toward long-winded explanations of subjects in which I am interested. However, here you will be disappointed. I will only state the following: Either first undertake the sequence I mentioned. Write yourself a sequence of poems–written from yourself as you are now, to yourself when much younger: a teen or a child perhaps. It will help if they have the same form and perhaps would help more, for my purposes, if they were sonnets, but certainly, the more consistent structure, the better for this exercise. Write a sufficient number of them. Let us say… perhaps ten at the minimum. If you do this, you will know the answer to the question in the title of this article. You will not help but know the answer. Or if you are not willing to do this, you may read the next paragraph, but the answer will appear like speculation to you unless you have done what I ask.
The answer to the question is simply that these sonnets were all written by Mr. Shakespeare to his younger self. This renders both popular theories, one with merit, and one without, as incorrect. The first theory is obvious enough not to be stated, however it is that Shakespeare is writing to advise all young men, as there is no evidence of a particular young man whom he had befriended at the time the sonnets were written (during the plague, it seems, when he was all but “holed up” in his house and could not by law engage in his profession of staging his plays) the other theory is not worth a mention but marxists find one reason or another to promote it. Therefore I shan’t even justify it. It is without merit, and for more reasons than anyone is willing or able to state. Still… why not a message to all young men or a particular friend? His reference to the dark lady “that they both love” is the answer. But more than that there is no point in relating until you perform the exercise I suggest.
It is the simplest way to make the case (after which you should go back and read all 154 sonnets again.) Honestly. You will see that the ways in which someone speaks to his younger self are unique–are not, cannot be, those he would employ when speaking to anyone else. Try it. It will convince you! But, as I previously stated, all this will seem like supposition until you do as I ask.