Shakespeare's Sonnets

Theme Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet #29

This sonnet is narrated by a man whose emotions are completely at the mercy of another. Its theme involves the vulnerability of the narrator's disposition and the power of love. Just when he reaches the lowest point of his depression, the addressee of the poem enters his mind and cures him of his misery.

Shakespeare cleverly uses a recurring theme of heaven to help portray the broader theme of the poem. In describing his helplessness, he writes, "I trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries. . ." Here, "bootless" is used to represent the futility of his "cries," or prayers to heaven. The diction, however, is extremely important in this context. The word "bootless" is also worthy of notice because it represents the hindrance of motion, since it literally means without boots, and without boots, it may become difficult to walk. This is contrasted later with an image in which the narrator likens his soul's uplifting to "the lark at break of day arising." Though the lark sings from "sullen earth," its song goes straight to heaven. The reader may interpret the word "sullen" as "a gloomy ill humor," "producing a dull, mournful tone," or...

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