“Thee” in the poem

Who is “thee” in William Shakespeares “Sonnet 18”? We help you understand this here.

The speaker addresses a young man

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets in total. The last 28 of these are addressed to a “dark lady” whereas the first 126 sonnets are addressed to an unnamed “fair youth” (which means an attractive young man). The speaker of the sonnets appears to love them both but he is troubled when the dark lady and the fair youth eventually end up together. This bizarre love triangle leaves the speaker jealous.

The 126 sonnets generally portray the young man as good-looking, selfish, and highly admired. The speaker expresses his love and admiration for him, and we sometimes get the impression that the speaker even finds the youth sexually attractive. 

It is important to note that there is nothing in “Sonnet 18” itself that indicates that “thee” refers to a young man. However, we may conclude t...

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