Shakespeare’s Sonnet 1: Fairest Creatures We Desire Increase
“Fairest Creatures We Desire Increase” is one of the most beautiful sonnets written by Shakespeare. It is the first of 154 sonnets by Shakespeare. It has biographical touches that we come to know when we read that he is perhaps addressing his friend named Earl of Southampton. He has a beautiful and charming look. The poet is a lover of beauty like Keats who believes: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” The poet says that beauty should be unceasing. It should not have any end. He stresses the idea that his friend must be married because his marriage will cause the birth of children who will also be beautiful and handsome like their father. In this way, his marriage will cause beauty and so on. The idea of the poet is very convincing and the way he has discussed it is also very convincing. The poet has written the poem in the form of a quatrain. A quatrain is a poetic device that consists of four lines in which especially one has rhyming. Now, let’s discuss the idea in detail given in each quatrain of the poem.
In the first quatrain, the poet says that beautiful people must be great in numbers. Beauty should never come to an end. It must be everlasting. It is only possible if one does not confine it to oneself. Human life is very short. Beauty is youth is like a rose, so it should be converted to the heirs before he dies because with the passage of time, a man starts becoming old and his beauty starts fading. Only through his children, his beauty will remain as a memory.
In the second quatrain, the poet addresses his friend and criticizes him for wasteful self-consumption. The poet says to his friend that no doubt he has an attractive and fascinating beauty with bright eyes but he is not using his beauty for the right purpose i.e. the purpose of transferring his beauty to his heirs. By doing so, he is causing a scarcity of beauty in the world. In this way, he is an enemy of himself and is wasting as well as spoiling his beauty.
In the third quatrain, the poet says that his friend is like the jewellery of the world. He declares that his friend is the only beautiful person who is beautiful like spring. He wants to confine his beauty to himself. He does not want to nourish his beauty. He is ready to waste his beauty but not to share his beauty with anyone.
In the last two lines of the poem, the tone of the poem is very harsh. The poet addresses his friend and suggests his that he must overcome his selfishness and take pity on the world. If he does so, he will be able to participate in the growth of beauty. He owes it to the whole world. He must get ready to do so because if he is not ready to share his beauty with his children, his children will not be able to show their father’s beauty through their beauty. He must not be a miser regarding producing his beautiful children. He must marry and produce children so that the coming generations may see his beauty through the beauty of his children. If he does not do so, he is like a glutton-eating beauty in the grave.
Themes of the Poem:
In so far as the themes of the poem are concerned, I think three major themes are very prominent in the poem. The very first theme of the poem is ‘procreation’ i.e. the birth of the offspring. The poet is suggesting the Fair Youth to have children because his own beauty will not last long. If we have a minute observation of the poem, the second and third themes i.e. selfishness and ‘self-obsession’ are also a part of this poem. The poet feels that the Fair Youth should overcome his selfishness and be out of this self-obsession because he will not be able to see his beauty forever and ever. The only thing that can satisfy his soul is the admiration of his viewers and he can find it only if he is ready to convey his beauty to his children.