William Shakespeare penned down his most touching 29th sonnet, entitled, “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”. This sonnet holds the subject matter of love. More particularly, this poem praises love. In the first quatrain, the author is in a state of melancholy and is treated as an outcast. In the second quatrain, he desires to be someone “with friends possessed”. But his love keeps him pushing forward. He wouldn’t change his state with kings if it requires giving up his love, talks highly and praises love. The purpose of “When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men’s Eyes” is that genuine love for is the antidote for all problems.
This genuine love should not go unappreciated because, in truth, it is the most priceless possession anyone can obtain. The young man, the narrator of this poem, says to us that we should not give up our love no matter what. The narrator writes “That then I scorn to change my state with kings” if it involves giving his love up. This love also is the sole thing that makes the author going on even if he had hit the “rock bottom”. At times when everything is gone, love is our only motivating spirit. This is the purpose of the 29th sonnet. Emotion is also used in “When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes”.
The author speaks to us deeply, sharing his depression in the beginning. His tone is sad, depressing, and deep. We can almost picture a man with his head down and tears pouring from his eyes. He is so depressed and upset, for he wishes he were something more, or someone else. As he begins to speak of changing his ways, his tone is still deep and meaningful. This makes us take the poem seriously, instead of just reading along. He wants us to understand that being depressed and angry and being who you are, is not a happy state, and we should not be jealous of others but rather be pleased with who we are.
The basic structure of the sonnet is fourteen lines with an a,b,a,b,c,d,c,d,e,f,e,f,g,g. The sonnet is also written in an iambic pentameter, which has ten syllables per pattern and a weak-strong pattern. An example is,”When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”. In the first quatrain, he introduces the conflict. He is in an outcast state where everyone looks down on him, even God cannot help him. Shakespeare expands the theme in the second quatrain by saying that he is admiring his friends’ successes.
The third quatrain introduces a turning point, where his ogitations on this individual cause a transition in his emotions, from misery to happiness. He expresses it by “Like to the lark at break of day arising”. The rhyming couplet states that because of his love, the narrator scorns to change his state with the kings. This is the structure of the sonnet. In his sonnet 29, Shakespeare creates a beautiful plot about the narrator having the mishap of facing a down-in-life situation but has a loved one to give meaning to his life. He describes the poem beautifully and explicitly by using not those pleasing and nice words such as “outcast state” and “curse my fate” to describe his poor state.
He also uses very beautiful and soothing words to describe his desire and content in the second paragraph. In the case of this poem, the saying, “a picture speaks a thousand words” is reversed. Each word paints pictures of the poem. But Shakespeare uses simple words to convey the message. The first four lines of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet contain visual and auditory imagery. “Men’s eyes” in line #1 is an example of visual imagery with negative connotation. The phrase is meant to evoke our sense of sight as we imagine countless pairs of eyes looking on us disgracefully.
Bootless,” in line three, is a visual image of someone without boots in the rain, slush or some other form of precipitate. This suggests that the narrator’s cries are also hopeless. A few auditory images are scattered throughout the four lines such as “cries,” “be weep” and “curse. ” All of these images have a negative connotation and work together to give the reader a feeling of wretchedness. The eleventh line contains visual images. Line #11 says: “(Like to the lark at break of day arising). ” The narrator compares the lark to his state of mind when he thinks of his love.
This gives the reader the impression that he suddenly perks up like a bird when the sun begins to show itself. This line is also meant to refer to the next line: “From sullen earth sings hymns at heaven’s gate. ” “Sullen earth” is written in reference to the narrator’s gloomy condition and has a negative connotation. With carful word selection and placement, William Shakespeare conveys to us the message that love is the medicine to everything and anything. In this poem is the first four lines show that the narrator is in a condition of severe melancholy due to his bad luck.
Although he “troubles deaf heaven” with cries, or prayers, they are not answered. The narrator cannot solve his problems, so he is left to “look upon himself and curse his fate. ” Then, he wishes he were someone else. But even in this condition, he is happy as “For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings”. Shakespeare used visual and auditory imageries to convey his emotions in sonnet 29. Shakespeare makes us sympathize for the down and out narrator before stating the most important thing in life that is love. He truly explains to us why love is so important to life with this simple sonnet.
January 9, 2018
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