Shakespeare Sonnet Explication: The Language and Exceptional Status of Sonnet 94 College
Although Shakespeare’s Sonnet 94 differs in many ways from the other sonnets written at the same time, it has become a popularly studied and explicated sonnet, drawing attention from academics for several reasons, including the strange shift in tone, the placement of the volta, the detached and impartial withholding of judgement until the last couplet, and the combination of three quatrains and a couplet although many have argued that it is set up in an octave-sestet order. Although it is not a particularly hard sonnet to read, the underlying levels of judgment, reversal of social order, the right to refuse procreation, and sexually transmitted diseases can be uncovered during a close reading. By using Carol Thomas Neely’s essay collection titled "Detachment and Engagement in Shakespeare's Sonnets” and Helen Vendler’s book The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets, I will perform a close reading that engages all levels of the text, including tone, imagery, rhyme schemes, general context, and connotations. The stark differences between this sonnet and the other sonnets within its sequence provide insight into the speaker’s evolving view of the subject of the sonnet and the line-by-line progression to a final judgment of the subject...
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