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Published: 30-10-2019

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The Themes Unveiled in the Sonnet 29

This sonnet is narrated by a man whose feelings are totally at the mercy of one more. Its theme includes the vulnerability of the narrator’s disposition and the power of love. Just when he reaches the lowest point of his depression, the addressee of the poem enters his mind and cures him of his misery.

Shakespeare cleverly uses a recurring theme of heaven to support portray the broader theme of the poem. In describing his helplessness, he writes, “I trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries. . .” Here, “bootless” is utilised to represent the futility of his “cries,” or prayers to heaven. The diction, nevertheless, is really critical in this context. The word “bootless” is also worthy of notice because it represents the hindrance of motion, since it literally indicates with no boots, and with out boots, it could grow to be tough to stroll. This is contrasted later with an image in which the narrator likens his soul’s uplifting to “the lark at break of day arising.” Although the lark sings from “sullen earth,” its song goes straight to heaven. The reader could interpret the word “sullen” as “a gloomy ill humor,” “producing a dull, mournful tone,” or “moody silence,” as noticed from the NED. The latter two definitions are far more applicable to our discussion they define the contrast among the mournful tone or the silence of the earth and the bright song of the lark. In the identical way the lark’s song is unfettered, when the narrator thinks about this person, his state “sings hymns to heaven’s gate.” Whereas just before, in his dejected state, his prayers were futile and motionless, now his prayers are mobile, and, as a result answerable. The image of the lark is frequent in Shakespeare’s operates. Certainly, in act three, scene 5 of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers are speaking of whether the song they have just heard was that of the nightingale or that of the lark. Romeo replies to Juliet, “It was the lark, the herald of the morn. . .” Consequently, the lark also signifies the coming of morning, an image which additional enhances the narrator’s spiritual ascent.

The theme of the sonnet also emerges from a constant motif of terms indicating affluence, which is recommended by the presence of words such as “rich,” “possessed,” “wealth,” and “kings.” The NED holds that the seventeenth-century meaning of the word “wealth” was spiritual properly-getting. Shakespeare uses this theme in an ironic setting, considering that these words are, in reality, utilised to support characterize the narrator’s misfortune. The second quatrain focuses on how the narrator envies the strengths of other men. He is in such a dejected and “outcast state,” that he desires “. . .this man’s art and that man’s scope. . .” The NED tells us that in the Elizabethan period, “art” meant any kind of talent, and that “scope” could be taken to mean “reach or variety of mental activity.” The line which reads, “With what I most enjoy contented least. . .” is the very best indication that the narrator has reached a low point. He is actually saying that he is in such a poor disposition that he now hates what he as soon as enjoyed most. As we study on, this image is contrasted with the statement in the final couplet which reads: “For thy sweet enjoy rememb’red such wealth brings/ that then I scorn to modify my state with kings.” In other words, the believed of this person makes him so satisfied that he would not modify his fortune with any other man not even the richest of kings. This stunning language, specially pleasing to the ear simply because of the iambic pentameter, summarizes the theme in the last couplet, as is customary in Shakespeare’s sonnets.

The turning point amongst his state of depression and his uplifting realization is represented at the starting of the third quatrain. He writes: “Yet in these thoughts myself nearly despising, Haply I think on thee and then my state. . .” The diction in these lines is most probably not an accident. The NED defines “haply” as “by likelihood or by accident.” When in the midst of his depression, the narrator only thinks of the particular person by likelihood. This is also visible when he writes, “For thy sweet really like rememb’red . . .” since the word “rememb’red” suggests that he was not considering of the person beforehand. This, to me, offers the impression that the addressee has been somehow temporarily removed from his life. For he never ever mentions the origin of his melancholy depicted in the initial two quatrains, and the reader is left to conjecture what I have hereby pointed out. I also think, even so, that it is no mistake that “haply” is a close neighbor of “happily.” As a result, the diction makes it possible for the theme to be revealed by way of a turning point, or change in texture.
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