Shakespeare's Sonnets

Love in Sonnet 29 12th Grade

Shakespeare’s iconic sonnet 29 is a sonnet that embodies the superficial nature of humanity, both intrinsically and extrinsically. The sonnet begins with the speaker denouncing his current state, which is quite unfavorable, as he “beweep[s] [his] outcast state” (line 2). However, the speaker continues to exalt his lover as the only reason he is able to carry on through his unfortunate circumstances. This serves as a bold endorsement of both love and intrinsic values over extrinsic materialism. All in all, this sonnet appears to speak to the value of love in maintaining one’s sanity when faced with dire circumstances. However, a more detailed reading of the sonnet reveals that this is not the case at all and the sonnet lends itself to an entirely different theme. In a casual reading, the reader experiences a more jubilant poem in which the speaker overcomes his material poverty through his love. Shakespeare, through, traditional sonnet structure and blatant tone shifts, creates the impression that this sonnet speaks to the theme of the overcoming power of love. However, this is not an accurate reading of the sonnet. In fact, the speaker is not to be taken for his word, and Shakespeare’s speaker is not as noble as he appears to...

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