Judgment: In the natural logic of the Sonnets the Poet asks the Master
Mistress* to make a judgment between the possibility of increase* and the
consequences for humankind if all, like him, were not inclined to increase.
The word judgment first occurs in sonnet 14, the last of the increase
sonnets. The Poet* derives his capacity for judgment and hence his
knowledge not from the heavenly stars or other forms of astrology, but from
the ‘constant stars’ of the youth’s eyes*. The eyes of the youth are identified as
the source of truth* and beauty* or the dynamic of ideas* and sensations*
from which judgment arises. Moreover, if the logical relationship between
increase (‘store’) and truth and beauty, or the processes of the mind*, is not
acknowledged, then logically the youth’s death* would be the ‘doom and
date’ of truth and beauty. If all human beings were like the youth and not
willing to increase then there would be no human beings left in which truth
and beauty could thrive. The sense of judgment, established in sonnet 14, is
the basis for the use of the word a further 6 times throughout the Sonnets.
Suggestions the word stands for the Christian* Judgment Day or Doomsday
have no basis in the consistent philosophy of the Sonnets. By using the word in
the Nature based context of the Sonnets, Shakespeare critiques the idealised
claims made for it in male-based Judeo/Christian dogma.
Kant, Emmanuel: The philosopher Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) is one
of the great apologists* for Christianity, albeit stripped of its customs and
historical origins to the residual need for a male God as author of the world.
Kant’s analysis of pure reason and his understanding of practical reason were
fatally affected by his predisposition toward the priority* such beliefs
accorded the male God over Nature.
The inconsistencies and sheer difficulty in Kant’s philosophical writings
are a direct consequence of his belief in the idea of the biblical God*. His
undisclosed agenda in the Critique of Pure Reason led to the conceptual
isolation of the means of understanding such as ideas* and sensations*, from
the faculties of desire or will, which subsequently led to the re-introduction
of ‘God, immortality* and freedom’ in his Critique of Practical Reason. The
consistent philosophy evident in Shakespeare’s Sonnets reverses the priority
typical of apologists. The natural world has priority over idealised beliefs or
forms of understanding.
Knowledge: In the natural logic of the Sonnets, knowledge is derived
through the dynamic of judgment* between right and wrong.
The word knowledge is first used in sonnet 14, the same sonnet in which
the word judgment and the dynamic of truth* and beauty* are introduced.
Knowledge is gained through the truth and beauty dynamic using the
judgment of right or wrong. Knowledge involves ideas that can be expressed
with certainty in the dynamic of language. The certainty of understanding
for humankind is logically based on the sexual* division out of Nature and
on the increase argument. In the Sonnet logic knowledge derives from the
eyes* and not the starry heavens* or an imaginary heaven. Once the youth*
understands the dynamic of truth and beauty is logically based in the possibility
of increase* in Nature, he can appreciate the connection between the
sexual eye and the mind’s eye. By their pervasive use of eroticism and the
absence of the sexual dynamic, mythologies indicate that they are not
founded on knowledge derived from judgments based in natural logic. An
appreciation of the sexual/erotic distinction is the basis for the consistent*
knowledge Shakespeare presents in all his poems and plays.
Life: In the Sonnet philosophy* life is pervasive and is synonymous with
Nature. It transcends the conventional distinction between inorganic matter
and organic ‘life’. Life and death* are not opposites because death occurs
Birth and death are the beginning and end of a particular individual’s
existence. The increase* sonnets are adamant that the persistence of human
life depends not on idealistic expectations of otherworldly immortality* but
on the logical requirement for female and male to beget offspring. Sonnet
after sonnet reiterates the sense of persistence of life through natural
increase*. Only through increase is the life of the human being sustained
from generation to generation within the dynamic of life. The conception
and birth of an individual begins their experience of life. The logical issue
is not whether a particular individual increases or not. Sonnet 11 states that
if no human being were willing or able to increase, then there would be an
end to human life. Humankind would become extinct if it chose not to
increase. To the last person alive all human constructs, such as a God* of
‘life and death’, would be revealed for the conceits they are, but Nature*,
as life, would persist.
Logical multiplicity: The Sonnet philosophy exhibits the correct multiplicity
between Nature* and human understanding.
Throughout his philosophy, Ludwig Wittgenstein sought a way to
represent the logical multiplicity between the world and language. He failed
in his early work the Tractatus because he chose a model based on atomic
physics. In his later philosophy he moved closer to finding the appropriate
model in the processes of organic life. His residual idealism, though,
prevented him from recognising the full significance of the biological
metaphors that permeated his later work. Three hundred years previously
Shakespeare’s philosophy took account of the logical multiplicity between
human understanding and Nature, by presenting the logical relation between
Nature*, the sexual* possibility, and the possibility of truth* and beauty*.
Love: Shakespeare’s Sonnets are known as the greatest love sonnets in
English literature. Their philosophy* of love transcends idealistic and
While the words ‘self love’, ‘lovely’, and ‘lov’st’, occur in the first few
sonnets, it is not until sonnet 9 that the word ‘love’ appears in it own right.
Sonnet 9 is one of the 14 increase* sonnets that logically link Nature to
the dynamic of the mind in terms of truth* and beauty*. By introducing
love in the increase sonnets Shakespeare identifies the germinal moment
from which the possibility of love flourishes. Sonnet 9 states that if the
youth* does not acknowledge the significance of increase then he can
show no love toward others. Frequently throughout the Sonnets, when the
Poet* addresses the youth’s inability to love truly, he returns to the logic
of sonnet 9. Only after the Poet has argued for the true source of love in
sonnets 1 to 9 does he personalise the debate in sonnet 10. Sonnet 10
introduces the Poet into the set in the first person in terms of I, my, and
me. And it is no accident that sonnet 10 uses the word love three times,
as well as the words beloved and lov’st. Once the basic condition for love
is introduced, the Poet can then consider the many forms of love available
to the idealistic youth and present the more balanced and realistic
appreciation of love evident in his relation to the Mistress*. By basing his
understanding of love in natural logic, Shakespeare is able to give voice to
the complete range of possibilities for the emotion of love. The range of
possibilities gives his Sonnets their unrivalled status as a love sequence. The
traditional belief that sonnets 116 and 129, express absolute love and lust
respectively, and so must be Christian* sonnets, greatly over-simplifies and
misrepresents their meaning. While the two sonnets provide intense
expressions of love and lust their meaning is established by considering the
philosophy of the whole set rather than misrepresenting them as Christian
Lover's Complaint, A: The Complaint is a long allegorical poem, attached
to the end of the Sonnet set, that expresses the content* of the set in a simpler
It was not unusual for sonnet sequences to have a complaint appended.
Shakespeare takes advantage of the device to express the kernel of his
philosophy* allegorically. A maid, seemingly distraught at the loss of her
virginity, concedes at the poem’s end that she would willingly submit
again. This is a constant theme in the Sonnets and plays where vain displays
of chastity and idealistic prejudice are subverted by a return to the logic of
the sexual* dynamic. The number relationships in A Lover’s Complaint also
tie in neatly with the numerological* system of the whole set.
Love's Labour's Lost: This early play, for which there are no identified
sources, is a straightforward expression of the Sonnet philosophy.
Three idealistic* lords and their overly idealistic King, who imagine they
can retire monk-like for a period of three years, are undone by four French
ladies who then impose upon them a year of waiting for their folly. The
natural priority of the female predominates in Love’s Labour’s Lost and
determines the outcome for the hapless males. Berowne, the only one of the
males aware of the illogicality of the King’s plans, recites speeches reminiscent
of passages in the Sonnets. In particular he paraphrases sonnet 14. The play
demonstrates Shakespeare had the rudiments of his philosophy* worked out
quite early in his career as a playwright.
Lust: Sonnet 129 is traditionally viewed as Shakespeare’s condemnation of
the lust experienced in his relationship with a ‘dark lady’. But such a reading
is prejudiced against the inherent logic of the Mistress sequence, and particularly
sonnet 129 where the Poet addresses the evil consequences of prioritising
an idealised ‘Spirit’ over Nature.
The concern of sonnet 129 is the ‘expense of Spirit*’ (129.1) where
false spirituality leads to the shame of wasting the sexual spirit of life. The
capital S on ‘Spirit’ suggests the sonnet can be read as a condemnation of
the idealising excesses of the Church* of Shakespeare’s day. The
philosophy of the Sonnets considers the consequences when biblical faiths
institute belief systems based on the priority of a male God* that usurps
the role of the female. In sonnet 129, the logical consequence of the
contradiction is a ‘heaven’* to be shunned as no better than a ‘hell’*. At
their worst idealistic excesses prioritise a male-based or even celibate
clergy over the natural logic of the female/male relationship. The
inversion of natural values creates a hell on earth in which the natural
process of increase* is considered an original sin. Sonnet 129 itemises the
perversions that can occur if the female priority in Nature is cross-dressed
as a male God and then idealised.
: The French poet Stephane Mallarmé (1842-98)
was the first writer after Shakespeare to express, through the aesthetic
achievement of his highly symbolic poetry, a consistent philosophy* of life*.
After Mallarmé experienced what he called the ‘abyss’, when he
rejected his Catholic faith, he broke through to the natural philosophy
underlying life. His poems, derived from an intuitive appreciation of the
priority of the sexual* process over the poetic, are erotically precise. They
are fully aware of their status as written objects, which are crafted about a
single image of great symbolic power. Mallarmé was an aesthete who
avoided the ethical*. So his work does not have the range and profundity
of Shakespeare’s complete philosophy that operates above symbolism at
the mythic* level. Mallarmé had a profound influence on the French artist
Marcel Duchamp*, who took Mallarmé’s symbolic achievement in
aesthetics* and elevated it to the level of the mythic.
: The Reverend Edmund Malone’s achievement was to
publish Shake-speares Sonnets in the 1790s as a complete set, after nearly 200
years of neglect. His travesty was to emend the meanings of over 50 words
and alter punctuation because the original words and punctuation made no
sense to his Christian* sensibility.
Malone’s unnecessary interference in the text of the 1609 edition was
most likely driven by the prejudice of his Christian sensibility. He fostered
an attitude, which persists to the present, of regarding the Sonnets as
variously pirated, incomplete, un-Shakespearean, uneven, embarrassing,
etc. His conversion of the Sonnets to conform more closely to an idealised
image of a titled young man is contrary to the natural philosophy evident
when the text of Q is respected. Malone, along with Samuel Johnson,
John Dryden, and many others over the last 200years, have felt
empowered to convert Shakespeare’s works to a paradigm contrary to the
Sonnet content*. They do so under the pretence of recovering the true
Masculine: The biological derivation of the male from the female has the
logical consequence that both female and male have feminine* and
masculine physical traits and corresponding mental traits.
The Sonnets consider the consequences of deriving the male from
female. The derivation characterises both human physiology and the
workings of the mind. In the set of 154 sonnets, the female/male division,
with its feminine/masculine interrelationships, is structured into two
sequences dedicated to the male (126) and female (28). The masculine and
feminine dimensions of the mind are presented as personae* of the Poet, the
Master Mistress*, and the Mistress*. The meaning of the whole set cannot
be appreciated without taking account of the contiguity of the physical
types and the mental types. The interconnectedness is expressed frequently
throughout the set and is encapsulated in the numerological* arrangement
of the Dedication*.
Master Mistress: The youth* of the Sonnets is referred to as the Master
Mistress in sonnet 20 to indicate his logical relation to both the Mistress*
and the sovereign mistress* or Nature*.
In order of priority, Nature, the sovereign mistress, gives rise to the
Mistress, or the female form of the human being. The male or Master
Mistress then derives from the Mistress. The sovereign mistress as representative
of the whole of Nature does not require a proper name; hence her
name is in lower case. The words Mistress and the Master Mistress refer
specifically to human entities and so are accorded capital letters as proper
names. The term Master Mistress captures both the physical derivation of
the male from the female and the male’s double nature of exhibiting
masculine* and feminine* traits. The Mistress as the source of the male possibility
also exhibits both traits, but because she is the originating entity she
is known simply as Mistress.
Mind: In the Sonnet philosophy, Shakespeare restores the logical priority
of the body* over the mind. The dynamic of truth (judgment* and
knowledge*) and beauty (sensation*) occurs in the embodied mind.
Over evolutionary time the human mind has developed in a body
logically conditioned by the sexual dynamic of increase*. The
evolutionary influence of the sexual* dynamic of the body forms the
logical basis for the operation of the truth and beauty dynamic within the
mind. The mind receives the sensory input from the outside world and
generates ideas expressible in language according to the logic of sexual
differentiation and increase*. The influence of the sexual dynamic on the
mind is evident in the erotic logic at the heart of mythological expression
in a culture. In the symbolism of the Sonnets, the eyes as the organs of sight
or seeing* stand archetypically for the various forms of sensation that enter
the mind. The eyes, as argued in sonnet 14, are the source of truth and
beauty, and are metaphorically associated with the logic of thoughts and
sensations generated in the mind. Effectively, the mind is accessible
through the eyes* so that in eye-to-eye contact the Poet ‘sees’ into the
mind of the Mistress* or the Master Mistress*. The mind is then
connected to the heart* or the seat of the emotions or unarticulated
sensations. A consequence of the formation of internal sensations of the
mind is the ‘imaginary soul*’ that generates phantasms, such as idealised
gods and goddesses, before the ‘minds eye’. The circle is completed with
the connection of the heart to the eye of the sexual* organs. The natural
priority of increase over truth and beauty, established in sonnet 14, enables
the Poet to represent the mind as a faculty logically determined by its
relationship to the dynamic of the body.
Mistress: In the natural logic of the Sonnets, the Mistress is derived from
Nature*, the sovereign mistress*. The Master Mistress*, in turn, is derived
from the Mistress.
Shakespeare uses the term Mistress because it is the generic form of all
such terms of female address. It has the added quality of representing the
female of the sequence as both wife and mistress, as either possibility is
capable of fulfilling the logical requirement for increase*. The female of
the Sonnet logic is referred to as the Mistress throughout her sequence, and
in keeping with the ubiquity of her reproductive cycle is given the
number 28, the lunar number. As the originating entity for the possibility
of the male, the Mistress has a unity corresponding to that of the sovereign
mistress, or Nature. As the Mistress has priority over the male or Master
Mistress, the Mistress sequence presents the logic of the beauty* and
truth* dynamic. The first ten sonnets of the Mistress sequence (127 to
137) present the logical status of beauty while sonnets 138 to 152 consider
the logical status of truth. In the Master Mistress sequence the word
Mistress occurs twice, once at either end of the sonnets devoted to the
truth and beauty dynamic. The Master Mistress appears in sonnet 20 and
the sovereign mistress appears in sonnet 126. The traditionally preferred
term for the Mistress, the ‘dark lady’, is a euphemism that destroys the
integrity of the logical relation between the sovereign mistress, the
Mistress, and the Master Mistress.
Models of Inconsistency: The complete template* derived in the first
4 Parts of Volume 1 can be used to provide an instant critique of the apologetic
justifications that have passed for philosophy* over the last 3000 or
Shakespeare’s Sonnets, particularly when represented as a logical template,
provide a telling critique of the apologetic systems that have hindered an
appreciation of the Sonnets complete and consistent* philosophy. The
template graphically shows the illogicality of prioritising the male God over
Nature, the mind* over the body*, the male over the female, and other
contradictory articles of traditional dogma.
Morals: The Sonnets do not present a code of morals, or moral injunctions,
as is typical of systems of thought based on inconsistent philosophies,
such as Christian* or Kantian* apologetics.
In the Sonnets, the two modes of understanding, truth* and beauty*,
represent all forms of language and all forms of sensation* respectively. As
truth is any form of language then ethics* or morals are logically based in
forms of language. The process of judgment* that leads to knowledge* is
an ethical process regardless of the situation being debated. All thought and
expression in language is logically moral. Language is the process of making
moral determinations. This is possible in the logic of the Sonnets because
the connection between Nature*, the sexual* dynamic of female and male
and the logic of increase* establishes the pre-conditions for the consistent*
and coherent function of truth and beauty. So long as none of the steps in
the logical dynamic is confounded by contrary beliefs, then the exercise of
language will logically bring about the appropriate understanding. This is
the function of the Shakespeare’s Sonnets. They demonstrate how to act in
the world consistent* with the logic of Nature. By adumbrating a consistent
philosophy Shakespeare shows how he is able to write plays with an amazing
moral force while not basing his writing on a predetermined code of
behavior derived from inconsistent expectations as is evident in Platonism*
or idealised religious beliefs. The logic of the Sonnets demands constant
evaluation in changing circumstances according to the logical requirement
to persist in harmony with Nature. If humankind decides not to persist then
at least it determines not to, rather than claiming it wishes to persist despite
having beliefs that harbour the eschatological wish to end Nature or
humankind in Nature.
Mother: In the increase sonnets 3 and 13, the youth* is reminded he had
a mother and a father*.
Even if he is unwilling or unable to increase*, the youth should
acknowledge the logical significance of his own increase. His birth from his
mother’s womb makes increase the determining characteristic of his life*.
Mr. W. H.: Volumes have been written on the possible identity of Mr. W.
H. in the Dedication* to the Sonnets. Ironically, the greatest of all mysteries
in literature has a simple solution once it is realised the Dedication was intentionally
arranged by Shakespeare to numerologically* encrypt the structure
of the Sonnets.
The whole and parts of the Dedication conform exactly to the
numbering of the whole and parts of the Sonnets (154, 28, and 126), and
to the numbering for the Poet (145). It is not surprising, then, that
Shakespeare also incorporated the numbers 1 and 9, which symbolise the
ability of the Poet to understand the logic of truth* and beauty*, to represent
himself in the Dedication. As W and H are the first and ninth letters of
‘WILLIAM SHAKE-SPEARE’ then Mr. W. H. stands for Shakespeare as
the Poet who begets the set. Other cryptic numerological features of the
Sonnets, which conform to its logical dynamic, support the contention.
Muse: The Muse symbolises the dynamic of truth*. She represents the
many forms in which language occurs, such as verse*, argument*, thought*,
The word Muse occurs 17 times throughout the sequence to the youth*
and each time the M is capitalised. The Muse does not occur in the Mistress*
sequence because the Mistress is the source of the logic of truth. The youth,
by contrast, because of his secondary derivation as the Master Mistress* from
the Mistress, has components missing from his understanding. The Poet is at
pains to inculcate into the youth the need to complement his 9 Muses (the
traditional 9 associated with inspirational achievement) with an additional
one. The additional Muse is the possibility of language out of the increase
dynamic, inherent in the Mistress, which the youth can acquire only by
addressing the issue of his separation from the female and the logical
requirement for his reunion with her. The logical requirement is met by the
tenth Muse, the one needed to bring the youth’s 9 to a unity (see sonnet 38).
Music: Sonnets 8 and 128 are the two specifically music sonnets in the
set. One occurs in each sequence, both carry the number 8, and both
mention the word ‘music’ twice in the first line.
As Shakespeare would have been aware that the octave in music is a
naturally occurring pattern in Nature*, he created a subsidiary structure for
music in the Sonnets that encompasses the whole set. While sonnets 8 and
128 introduce the music structure in each sequence, it is possible to see in
the unique 8 syllables per line of sonnet 145 a deliberate indication of the
source of the pattern of 8’s throughout the set. The punning reference to
Anne Hathaway in sonnet 145 indicates that the Mistress is the source of
music. The position of sonnet 145 in the set of 154 sonnets conforms to a
regular spacing of 8 sonnets from the beginning and end of the set. The
logical relation of music to Nature is appropriate because music, however
elevated, is logically an aesthetic* or sensory experience. It differs from the
conventional concepts of hours and minutes devised for the measurement
Mystic Addition: A system of numerological* calculation in which the
individual numerals of a number are added together to generate a number
with symbolic significance.
Mystic addition has long been used in astrological determinations. More
specifically, poets and sonneteers of Shakespeare’s time who wished to
arrange a series of poems to conform with the basic elements of their experiences
or beliefs, used mystic addition as a structuring device. The classic
instance is Dante’s Divine Comedy of 1323. Dante used the number 100 to
give his cantos a ‘divine unity’ (100 = 1+0+0 = 1). Shakespeare’s contemporaries
Sidney* and Daniel* used a numerological structure based on mystic
addition in their sonnet sets. Such sets of numbered sonnets had the
advantage of demonstrating the close connection between literacy and
numeracy. Of all the poets, Shakespeare was able to devise an arrangement
of numbers that precisely counterpointed his consistent philosophy.
Mythic, mythical, mythological: A distinction is drawn in these volumes
between the mythic, the mythical and the mythological.
The word mythic refers to the logical conditions for the possibility of
myth where myth is the erotic expression in language of the relation of
Nature and human nature. Shakespeare’s Sonnets would seem to be the only
philosophic text in the literatures of the world that articulates consistently
the logical conditions for any mythic possibility. The Sonnets provide the
logical criteria for the conscious mythic expression in his plays. The mythical
refers to understandings derived from myths that fulfill some of the conditions
for being mythic. They usually include descriptive or psychological
material that detracts from a consistent mythic expression. The mythological
refers to traditional understandings of the Nature/human relationship
expressed in terms of gods, goddesses and other mythical beings that
constitute a myth or systems of myths. Because myth is a form of expression
in language, it accepts as a logical given the relation of sexual* species to
Nature* and the logical inability of mythic expression (and so any expression)
to be a substitute for sexual reproduction. The erotic* logic in all mythic
expression acknowledges the priority of the sexual. Any system of belief that
claims a mythology faithfully represents the world is logically inconsistent.
Mythology becomes mythic when it both acknowledges the sexual conditions
for its status as myth, and gives conscious expression to its erotic status.
A literary or artistic work that does not address human origins in Nature or
does not meet the self-referential sexual/erotic criteria for myth, may still
achieve at a lesser symbolic, legendary, or folkloric level of expression.
Mythical Equation: In Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being Ted
Hughes derives what he calls the mythical* or tragic equation.
Rightly acknowledging that Shakespeare’s system of thought* is based
in the female, Hughes attempts to apply his mythical equation to 14 or so
of the later tragedies and romances and to the Sonnets by interpolating
mythological* figures from the early poems. He fails to acknowledge,
though, the significance of the increase* argument in the Sonnets. Because
he considers the ‘marriage’ sonnets ‘the persuasion of hired labour’ he is
fatally constrained in his attempt to present the mythic dimension in the plays
by his inability to relate the logic of increase to its erotic* function in myth.
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Roger Peters Copyright © 2005