Shakespeare's Sonnets

Sonnet 27: The Epitome of Shakespearean Paradox 11th Grade

Seen from the surface, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 27 is a lament for the absent beloved. However, when regarded from a more careful perspective, it rather implies a mental voyage that unveils the speaker’s inner reality and his state of mind. As in many of Shakespeare’s sonnets, this poem is erected on paradoxes that contribute to reveal the inner reality of the speaker. The axial paradox is the inspirational object illuminating the speaker’s nocturnal journey and making his existence unhappy at the same time, since the object cannot be grasped or possessed by the speaker. This central paradox is expressed in the form of codes in binary opposition that display the reality that the source of inspiration has helped to create in the speaker’s mind. The unraveling of these opposing images will lead us to the kernel or theme of the poem. The theme displays a reality in which the speaker cannot escape nor possess his source of inspiration, and is tied up to it both day and night, physically and mentally, in light and in darkness. This situation unchains his weariness and lack of internal peace as the prevailing mood throughout the whole poem.

The first opposing code in the poem appears in the first quatrain: “weary with toil I haste me to...

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