12 of Shakespeare’s Best Sonnets, Illustrated and Annotated

We don’t need to tell you that Shakespeare’s sonnets are incredible (or that they can be puzzling beyond all reason). Though they may be difficult to decipher, they are well worth the hours you’ll spend close reading and contemplating the meaning of “is.”

Since we are literature nerds at heart over here at OwlEyes.org, we love doing this kind of stuff. For those of you who don’t, or for those who are just looking for a little extra help, we’ve got you covered! We’ve spent the last month annotating all things Shakespeare, including some of his most popular sonnets, and we’ve even created a comprehensive guide to reading them.

As a visual learner, I’ve always found it helpful to view accompanying art for the literature that I read—it gives me an even deeper understanding of the words on the page (and it’s just so much fun).

If you are anything like me, or if you simply appreciate literary art, you should definitely check out the original Shakespeare sonnet illustrations below created by our lovely design intern, Kate R. For more of Kate’s art, follow them on Instagram.

(Click the title of each sonnet to read it, along with our official Owl Eyes annotations and analyses, for free!)

Sonnet 5

Sonnet 18

Sonnet 19

Sonnet 29

Sonnet 55

Sonnet 60

Sonnet 73

Sonnet 94

Sonnet 106

Sonnet 116

Sonnet 129

Sonnet 130

Missing your favorite sonnet? We have a free e-text compilation of all 154 of them!

— Kayla Shaffron, @ Owl Eyes