Shakespeare's Sonnets

Sonnet No. 87

Critically discuss the technique of sonnet no 87?

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Sonnet 87 is the first sonnet after the rival poet sequence (sonnets 79-86). It begins a new sequence of sonnets dealing with the narrator's "breakup" with the fair lord. The first word captures the essence of the sonnet precisely: "Farewell!" Immediately we are reintroduced to the theme of self-deprecation and inadequacy that was especially predominant in the preceding rival poet sequence: "thou art too dear for my possessing." This sentiment is repeated again and again throughout the sonnet, e.g. in line 6: "And for that riches where is my deserving?" The narrator thereby acknowledges his unworthiness and presents that as justification for the fair lord's rejection.

Beyond the theme of self-deprecation and inadequacy, sonnet 87 also contains some excellent examples of Shakespeare's frequent use of the imagery of financial bondage. As with the court imagery found in sonnet 30, this theme often takes on the form of legal metaphors, here seen in the words "charter," "patent," and "misprision." Meanwhile from the language of finance are the words "estimate," "worth," "bonds," and "riches."