Shakespeare’s brilliance is praised by millions of English majors, professors, and laymen the world over. His works comment on society, relationships, and everything in between. His sonnets especially explore aspects directly related to this class: reproduction and sexuality.
Sonnet 129 explores sexuality in a way that captures the pleasure and burden of sex. The first four lines of the sonnet examine the emotions one goes through before and in pursuing sex. The range of emotions described, rudeness, cruelty, untrustworthiness, savagery, etc. all show the complete power that the pursuit of sex has over an individual.
In line five however, Shakespeare shows that once sex is acquired, it is despised. The rest of the poem goes on to explain that this pursuit drives one mad, and continues to do so even more so after it has been had once. The last lines, “All this the world well knows, yet none knows well/ To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.” shows that Shakespeare believes men know better than to pursue sex, as it will take over their lives, yet they do it anyway. We see elements of treating women as objects and having no say in the matter, and that it is a men’s burden to bear.
So what does the Queen B herself have to do with Shakespeare?
As we all know, Beyoncé is the voice of our generation. In particular, she sings to how we view sex, relationships, and love. One of her most famous songs, Crazy in Love (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViwtNLUqkMY) , shows a very similar message to Sonnet 129. With lines like, “When you leave I’m beggin you not to go/ Call your name two, three times in a row “, “Got me lookin so crazy right now/ Your love’s got me lookin so crazy right now”, and “I’m not myself lately/ I’m foolish, I don’t do this/I’ve been playing myself”, Beyoncé demonstrates the same thing Shakespeare tries to portray: sex and love make us crazy. Once we have a taste of it, we’re done for. Our emotions are all over the place, and we are “Crazy in Love.”
Thanks for clearing that up Beyoncé.