Shakespeare's Sonnets

Human Discrepancy: Mortality and Money in Sonnet 146

In sonnet 146, Shakespeare presents the battle between depth and surface in different ways. The theme and message of the poem point consistently to a contradictory and difficult relationship between the inner and outer realms of a human being. The soul versus the body is the most obvious manifestation of this theme. But beyond this literal depiction of two forces at odds lurks a darker, deeper idea. There isn't simply a difference between the outside and inside of a person, but an inevitable discrepancy. There is the presence of failure on one side, which renders the battle unequal and creates frustration. Subtle characteristics of Shakespeare's language and attitude towards form paint a clear picture of this failure for the reader. In the language of the poem, the use of cold monetary references creates a parallel battle. At moments, Shakespeare shows us just how this outer mask of words fails to communicate the workings of the interior, which is the writer's pure intent, the message from the soul. Shakespeare also betrays his frustration with form, which is essentially the corporeal shape forced upon his meaning. Essentially the poem itself, in its inability to truly communicate, becomes another battle in...

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