Shakespeare’s Sonnet #129 Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 9 January 2017

Shakespeare’s Sonnet #129

Shakespeare was one of the most influential writers of his time and fortunately we have the opportunity to study his work and interpret what his sonnets complex meanings could be. The sonnet that I chose is number 129 in his collection. I chose this sonnet because the theme and story really spoke to me and my current situation in life. I know how it is to long and lust for someone so much that it hurts beyond words. To lust and even have but know its not right. The love that Shakespeare writes about is something that many people go through. The feeling of going back and forth because you are sure you want it and then know you don’t. THis sonnet really demonstrates Shakespeare’s hell on earth with the indecisiveness of someone he loved. The theme is that lust is not always love and can make a person mad and full of shame. You can lust for some one so much that it can be cruel, painful, and wrong.

His use of rhyme throughout the poem makes it easy to read and he also uses enumeration which is string of adjectives that describe and hammer in a point. His use of this shows to the reader how desperate he is not to feel the pain he feels, wishing he did not go back and forth with this person. The tone of this poem is desperation and sadness. Another aspect of the sonnet that I found interesting was that he uses opposites in this sonnet, I think to explain how conflicted he is: heaven and hell, Bliss and woe, hunted and had, blame and trust. Even knows that with the good comes the bad and with this lust he feels shame. The first four lines of the sonnet, called the quatrain, explain that our lust for someone should not be trusted because lust can be “false, murderous, bloody and savage”. This use of adjectives describes how much this lust for his lover has taken a negative hold on him. The line, “The expense of spirit in a waste of shame” says to me that Shakespeare feels that it is a waste of time feeling shame for lusting upon someone, because the feelings do not cause happiness.

Also that when we we subject ourselves to the actual sexual act we are shameful and succumbing to the lust. In the second quatrain Shakespeare writes, Mad in pursuit and in possession so, which to me means that the longing you have for someone can be explained lust and the desires you have for that person will only cause you shame and pain in the long run. Shakespeare talks of lust as being very negative, he describes lust negatively in a list of enumerated negative adjectives perjured, murderous, bloody, savage, extreme, rude, cruel. Lust, in Shakespeare’s opinion makes a man mad. The very last line in the couplet talks of hell, lust is a hell in which Shakespeare finds himself because his lust for this woman seems uncontrollable and predictably shameful in the end. It seems he is in agony over someone and he strongly states this in the sonnet.

The third quatrain explains that we are made mad when we seek and pursue someone and then again when we have them we are mad as well. The thought of lust and the act of lust are one in the same, we act crazy and mad before, during and after. He says in three forms that lust is mad. When you had the person, when you are having the person and in trying to have someone. All forms of lust drive us mad. While we think it feels good at the time, we realize that it brings sorrow. It seems like a good idea, like a dream. The couplet at the end explains that many have felt this way, that lust overtakes a person and no one knows how to shun this lust in order to avoid shame. That our feelings overtake what we know to be right.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 9 January 2017

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