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The worst thing about loving someone, is that when they betray you it feels like someone has stabbed you in your heart. Many people have experienced heartbreak from being betrayed by someone that they loved. It is true that the more you love someone, the harder and more painful it will be when they betray you. William Shakespeare’s works often deal with the tragic theme of love and betrayal. His sonnets are known all around the world and are still taught about today.
In Sonnet 40 and Sonnet 41 by William Shakespeare, the focal points of the sonnets have to do with love and betrayal. He specifically wrote about being in a love triangle and the pain associated with it. The feeling of knowing that the person you love the most in the world is betraying you is honestly, indescribable. It feels like they ripped your heart out of your chest leaving you with a void that you think can never be filled again.
The first line of Sonnet 40 is, “Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all”(40.1) This means, that the narrator literally wants his lover to take everything from him. The narrator’s love for this person is so overwhelming that he is willing to give his lover all of the love that he has to over. “What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?/No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call—/All mine was thine before thou hadst this more.” (40. 2-4) This is the narrator asking his love “what do you have now that you didn’t before?”.
He is basically saying that his love didn’t gain anything because he was already giving her all that he had to offer. “Then if for my love thou my love receivest,/I cannot blame thee for my love thou usest;/But yet be blamed if thou this self deceivest/By wilful taste of what thyself refusest.”(40.5-8) The narrator is saying that he gave her so much of his love that he would not blame her for giving some of it away to someone else. “I do forgive thy robb’ry, gentle thief,/Although thou steal thee all my poverty;” (40.9-10) The narrator is saying that he forgives his lover for stealing all of his love even though, it is all that he had. “And yet love knows it is a greater grief/To bear love’s wrong than hate’s known injury.”(40.11-12) This means that people know that it hurts more when someone you love betrays you or uses you. “Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,/Kill me with spites, yet we must not be foes.” (40.13-14) The narrator is saying that his lover is gracious even when she is using him, but even though she is hurting him, he still wants to be with her.
The first line of Sonnet 41 is, “Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits”(41.1) This means that, the narrator knows of his lover’s infidelities and wrongs. “When I am sometime absent from thy heart,/Thy beauty, and thy years full well befits,/For still temptation follows where thou art.”(41.2-4) The narrator is saying that he knows that he leaves for long periods of time and the beauty of his lover is seen even when he is gone. “Gentle thou art, and therefore to be won,/ Beauteous thou art, therefore to be assailed;/And when a woman woos, what woman’s son/Will sourly leave her till he have prevailed?”(41.5-8) The narrator is saying that the man’s beauty attracts attention from many people so he understands why his lover wants to be with the other man. “Ay me! but yet thou mightst my seat forbear,/And chide thy beauty and thy straying youth,/Who lead thee in their riot even there/Where thou art forced to break a twofold truth:” (41.9-12) This is the narrator basically begging the other man. The narrator is asking him to stay away from his lover. “Hers by thy beauty tempting her to thee,/Thine by thy beauty being false to me.”(41.13-14) This is the narrator saying that the other man’s beauty is why his own lover is not faithful.
Shakespeare like many writers, uses literary devices in his writing. He especially uses alliteration and personification. In sonnet 40 and sonnet 41 he uses both. An example of alliteration in Sonnet 40 is, “What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?/No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call—”(40.2-3) Shakespeare does this as a way to tongue twist the readers. An example of alliteration in Sonnet 41 is, “And when a woman woos, what woman’s son”(41.7) Again, it is another tongue twister. By using alliteration, Shakespeare is helping to set the tone and mood of his sonnets. An example of personification in Sonnet 40 is, “To bear love’s wrong than hate’s known injury.”(40.12) This is personification because Shakespeare decided to give “love” human attributes. An example of personification in Sonnet 41 is, “For still temptation follows where thou art.”(41.4) This is personification because Shakespeare decided to give “temptation” human attributes.
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