Shakespeare's Sonnet 137 Analysis

Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes,
That they behold, and see not what they see?
They know what beauty is, see where it lies,
Yet what the best is take the worst to be.

If eyes, corrupt by over-partial looks, 

Be anchored in the bay where all men ride,
Why of eyes' falsehood hast thou forged hooks,
Whereto the judgment of my heart is tied?

Why should my heart think that a several plot,
Which my heart knows the wide world's common place?
Or mine eyes, seeing this, say this is not,
To put fair truth upon so foul a face?  

 In things right true my heart and eyes have erred,
   And to this false plague are they now transferred.


In the first quatrain Shakespeare asks love which is blind how it has blinded him since although he can distinguish beauty perfectly, but he sees what is the "worst" as if it were the "best".

In the second quatrain, he proceeds from this to ask another question and asks why since his eyes have been corrupted by his prejudice visions, love has made hooks of the false vision to catch and hold his heart in the same false judgement as that of his eyes.

In the third quatrain, he questions both his eyes and heart. Firstly, why does his heart think what everyone knows as the worlds' common place is his own particular property? Secondly, what should his eyes, which see this, call a foul face beautiful?

The couplet sums up by saying that both his eyes and heart have erred or gone astray, and transfer themselves from truth to this "false plague" (bad situation).

Shakespeare makes love blind and says that it blinds him. His lady is like a ship which anchored in the bay where men ride. He asks how he was made blind by love. It is the more disastrous in Shakespeare who complains of love that made him see falsely and unable to perceive clearly what happens in the harbor of his heart where his lady is, for he suggests that all men are riding in that harbor.

In this sonnet he reveals that because of his conscience his "falseness has indeed become plague." Now, shame covers his heart, he has gone a straight and arrived at self-condemnation and because of his falseness his conscience has become indeed a plague (pestilence).

From the first sentence he starts attacking love in a way that he didn't use before. He addresses love saying what did you do to my eyes because they are seeing different to what they see in reality. They see ugliness, but they say that they see beauty. There is organic defect in his eyes. His eyes can detect beauty and know where it is found, but the result is that they give the best qualities to ugly things. If the problem is that my eyes are spoiled, the reason of this is that he has an over partial look over things. His beloved is like a ship which stands where all men can ride (it's not specific to him). She is anchoring in a common place, so if love made his eyes false by looking at his beloved, the looks to his beloved made his vision false. The first negative effect of love on him is that love made his eyes see falsely. The beloved makes an influence on his eyes and because love made false hooks to his heart, his heart made false judgement or prejudice due to his false vision.

Imagery:
1- Image of the bay where all men ride and his lady was like a ship.
2- Image of the hooks that catch and told the speakers hart and gripped it.
3- Image of a foul ugly face that he imagines beautifully.
4- The image of false plague or pestilence of self condemnation.

Parallelism:
- heart love-eyes vision.

Personification and metaphor: 
- love as blind person heart which is thinking.

Paradox: 
- best / worst; fair / fool; right true / erred.

Alliteration: 
1- line 10 wide world. 
2- line 12 fair foul face.

Shakespeare's Sonnet 35 Analysis

No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.

All men make faults, and even I in this,
Authórizing thy trespass with compare,
Myself corrupting salving thy amiss,
Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are:

For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense—
Thy adverse party is thy advocate—
And ‘gainst myself a lawful plea commence.
Such civil war is in my love and hate,
  
 That I an √°ccessory needs must be
   To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.

The first four lines are straight forward in movement and imagery. The fifth line begins by continuing the excuses "All men make faults" but with an abrupt change of rhythm. Shakespeare turns the generalization against himself by saying:"All men make faults and even I in this". That is to say, in waisting my time finding romantic parallels for your sins, as though as intellectual analogies (sins) were relevant to your sensual fault. The painful complexity of feelings is evident in the seventh line, for Shakespeare is at the same time tender towards the sinner infuriated and disturbed by his own tenderness. He added "I corrupt myself when I find excuses for you" or "When I comfort myself in this way" and "I am afraid I myself make you worse by excusing your faults." Although there is a fresh change of tone towards the end; the 12th line is virtually a sigh as he gives up hope of resolving the conflict. The expressions "needs must" and "The sweet sour" opposing show the continued civil war of the emotions.

This poem talks about the complexity of the lover's feelings who wants to be merciful and hates himself for showing such a mercy. This clarifies the nature of the true love which is not simple at all. In the depth of love, the lover may have different and opposed emotion at the same time. Also, in this poem the poet stresses the theme of wordily imperfection, "Nature is imperfect as well as man."

Sonnet 75 - Edmund Spenser



 One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
 Vain man, said she, that doest in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize,
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wiped out likewise.            
  Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name.    
 Where when as Death shall all the world subdue,
Out love shall live, and later life renew.

STANZA BY STANZA ANALYSIS
STANZA 1: The first quatrain describes the poet writing his lover’s name on the sand. Yet, the very next moment, the waves swallow them up and the letters vanish away. In the verse “Again I wrote it with a second hand”(line 4), we can see how the poet strives once more to leave his writing upon the beach, only to see it quickly disappear. We can understand the poet’s endless, but futile effort to immortalize something that is mortal. At the same time the writing of the lady's name, which is the central image of the poem, is transferred from earth to heaven. Here we learn that time is the destroyer of all things but even so, the poet perseveres with determination to engrave his love on the walls of time itself.

STANZA 2: In this quatrain, the poem states that the poet's lover did not have the confidence in his efforts of trying to immortalize his love towards her. She argued it is a mere waste of time and effort as love is a mortal thing as the phrase "A mortal thing so to immortalize". She will be “washed away” just like her name was washed away by the tide. The lover tell the poet that he needs to stop what he is doing and is vain for his efforts as everyone in the world will eventually have to die as time and tide waits for no man. She wanted him to know that his actions were only futile and that there is nothing he could do to control the immortality of their love because immortality itself does not exist. The lover only meant for her partner to accept the cruel and harsh realities of life that nothing can last forever.

 STANZA 3: In the third quatrain, the poet claims that he can make their love last forever despite mortality. He says he can do this by using his verse. He goes on to say that when people die, (because people do die because they are mortal) that everyone will still have knowledge of their love because it will be eternal. The line “My verse your virtues rare shall eternize". Despite the fact of the poet's beloved discouraging him, he never did give up but instead he proved his point by immortalizing his love towards his wife through his words and writing elements. And now even though both he and his wife are long gone from the phase of this earth, but the everlasting love the poet had towards his wife will always be known and remembered for more generations to come. Just as he promised, to use his verse as a tool to immortalize her virtue for as long as it will be.

Final Couplet: Shows a contrast between their immortal love and other things that will die with the passage of time. The capitalized world “Death” shows how it will brutally destroy all other things except for their love, which will be renewed by the presence of the sonnet. This couplet embraces the theme of the poem that their love will not fade away like other mortal things on earth.

CRITICAL APPRECIATION
In Sonnet 75 by Edmund Spenser, the speaker tells a brief tale about himself and his mistress, debating about mortality one day at the beach. As we know, love is a mortal thing when one, or both partners depart from this earth, their love will slowly fade from the consciousness of people. Through this poem, the speaker is trying to let the readers know of his efforts to immortalize his beloved. Even as time passes and when they're long gone, their love would still be known throughout the ages. The sonnet is written in the pursuit of a woman whom he loves.The poet desires to commemorate the beloved by inscription. He tries taking writing off the page to the outdoors, leads to a lover's debate about death & time. Here we know that his lover believes that everything will subdue to the power of nature and everyone will die just like everything else on the earth but the poet believes otherwise. He feels that their love will stay alive forever and she will be famous (you shall live by fame). The poet wants to immortalize their love through his writings and it will be known until the heavens.

Even though death might separate them for the time being, but the poet strongly reaffirmed that they will be together again after death because he believed in life after death and that the love he had for his wife could never tear them apart.

 POETIC / LITERARY DEVICES
1. Imagery
-  “One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
       But came the waves and washed it away:”
2. Alliteration
-  “die in dust,” “verse your virtue,” “love shall live,” “later life,”
3. Repetitive
-   “decay,” “die,” “death,”
4. Symbolism
-  The sea alludes to the distance that is between the lover and his beloved which is causing pain to the lover.
-  The writing on the sand refers to the lover’s insistence on making a worldly impact on his beloved.
-  The waves are a constant reminder of the cruelty of love, haunting again and again. By washing away the name of the beloved, the waves act as torrents of torture. The waves also signify time. The erasing of the name by water signifies the transient nature of human life.
-  The sea-side or beach also symbolizes a peaceful, comfortable place where the lover unreservedly expresses himself.
-  The lover’s writing on the sand can be a reference to man’s inherent desire to eternalize his being to be remembered forever.
5. Personification
-  But came the waves and “washed” it away
-  But came the tide, and my “pains” his prey

 READING MATERIAL
Sonnet 75 is taken from Edmund Spenser’s poem Amoretti which was published in 1595. The poem has been fragmented into 89 short sonnets that combined make up the whole of the poem. The name Amoretti itself means “little notes” or “little cupids.” This poem is said to have been written on Spenser’s love affair and eventual marriage to Elizabeth Boyle, his second wife. Sonnet 75 centers on the immortality of spiritual love and the temporality of physical love.Poetic images can be surprisingly persistent over time. Spenser's Sonnet 75 opens with the striking image of a man writing his beloved's name in the sand, only to see the waves wash it away again. Anyone who listened to the radio in the 1950's would have heard a hit song by Pat Boone, called "Love Letters in the Sand." In a very general sense, the images are the same, as they suggest how ephemeral a gesture of love can be. If we look more closely though, we begin to see differences. The speaker in Spenser's sonnet is not a pop singer whose girl has left him. Spenser is in fact setting the speaker up for a rebuke from his beloved, who charges him with the vanity of ignoring his own human mortality. The lover in his turn is then able to raise the argument to a still higher plane, as he asserts that their love will triumph over death.

When the sonnet begins to deepen, it does so by invoking a variety of issues characteristic of the sixteenth century: the intense awareness of death, a continued sense of pride as a sin (even among protestants), the Petrarchan notion that mortal love can lead upward to divine love, the attempt to define a new kind of sacred married love. The image of writing a name in the sand doesn't have any absolute meaning of its own, certainly not one that transcends time. But like any image it is available to be used in a way that serves the needs of a particular moment in history. Sometimes it's just those images which seem to have the shock of familiarity that we need to look at twice. They might give us a way of getting inside an experience that happened 400 years ago, if it happened at all. But they may also show us that when history repeats itself, it does so differently.


Overall, Sonnet 75 is a poem about a man promising eternal love to his beloved one. He eschews his lover’s realistic worries about the loss of love due to death with enchanting words. His elaborate and detailed use of language creates a rhythm and deepens the meaning as it goes along with the tone of the verses. Thus, as the poet had anticipated, as long as people read and recite this poem, it will last eternally as a beautiful sonnet.

The Development of the Form of English Sonnets

The Sonnet has become English because of the contribution of many poets. Discuss. 
Critics agree that the form of sonnets was invented in Italy and initiated merely by the Italian sonnet Petrarch. Petrarch wrote his sonnets in English. As in novels at the beginning of the 18th century that were immature, unsophisticated and not well developed until the end of the 18th century, so were sonnets. Petrarch's sonnets in the 14th century can be considered as the first step in the evolution of sonnets. His language was somehow loose, his meanings vague and his themes simple. He dealt with simple issues concerning love, friendship, loyalty and some moral issues. He criticized his society and its demerits. He did not deal with critical, sensitive or controversial themes, this is why he chose a simple patterned rhyme scheme that was suitable for him to introduce his poetry. The sonnet is a form of a poem, but it is more restricted and sophisticated. It should be 14 lines, written in iambic meters and have rhymed line endings that rhyme in alternate with proceeding lines to suit his themes that did not emerge problems, and hence needed no solutions. Petrarch used the octave (8 lines) and sestet (6 lines) form. The octave rhymed abba abba and the sestet rhymed cde cde. He intentionally avoided the couplet form that suggested an end or a conclusion form because he did not ask a question in his sonnet that needed an answer nor did he suggest a problem in correspondence of a solution. He only criticized some demerits in his society or wrote about his feelings and emotions. The second stage of the evolution of sonnets was dedicated to the English Sonneteer Wyatt that brought the sonnet form into English and stated writing in it. Thus, the old form could not suit his ideas, so he modified it still using an octave and a sestet but the sestet reads then cdd cee. He, too, avoided reaching the couplet form because his themes too lacked sublimity and cruciality. He dealt with emotional topics avoiding controversial or universal ones, but he is remembered for being the first to modify a sonnet form and thus contributing to the progression of sonnets.

Now we can say that the highest point of evolution of sonnets was reached by Sir William Shakespeare. He introduced a totally different tract for dealing with and comprehending the sonnets. Now the themes have become in their utmost seriousness. New issues emerge, new analogies have to be dealt with. To him, the old themes were superficial, this is why he introduced new ones. The old rhyme schemes can no more comply to his themes. He was in need of a more developed pattern that is ductile. His themes, unlike the formers, should have then a conclusion at the end because he always reached at the end a situation totally different from that at the beginning of the sonnet, something happens to him and then his situation changes and becomes happy. The melancholy is introduced in the first stanza; the thing that changes his situation is introduced in the second and third stanza, and then his final situation is introduced in the last 13th and 14th lines, that are the concluding lines. This is why he was in need of modifying the former pattern to apply to him. Therefore, what is better for a conclusion than a couplet. Furthermore, the above pattern should totally be modified to be abab cdcd efef gg. This form was the best applicable to Shakespeare and the resulting sonnets still gather our attention till now. No doubt that this man did much to English literature and more precise to English sonnets.

He was the most famous sonneteer of his time (Elizabethan Age) and the later ages. His sonnet had universal themes that could not be attributed to one specific time or place. He wrote many famous plays, but still he was remembered for his sonnets. He was intelligent and knew that his themes could not be introduced in Petrarch's pattern or Wyatt's. Shakespeare wrote each line in iambic pentameter and the last words rhymed with an alternating line-ending word, for instance, the first line rhymed with the third-the second with the fourth-the fifth with the seventh-the sixth with the eighth etc. The last 2 lines (line 13 and 14) were rhymed like each other because they are the concluding lines. Unlike Petrarch and Wyatt who avoided completely reaching a conclusion and therefore a couplet form. Shakespeare was urged to reach a conclusion because the themes that he dealt with always with no failure must at the end show a change of state.

He modified the octave and sestet form initially used by Petrarch and Wyatt to 3 stanzas each being a quatrain (of 4 lines) and then a couplet.

Shakespeare's concern was immortality, poetry and friendship. He wrote 154 sonnets that are divided into 3 categories: immortality of poetry, his love for his friend, and his love for a woman. These topics are familiar direct, easy, simple and vivid.

The third sonneteer that contributed to the progression of English sonnets was Sidney. He was skillful and introduced new techniques. His writings were elegant, strictly to the point. He avoided figurative language and was perfect in writing a smooth, vivid poetry that lacked detailing. He criticized those poets that imitate other poets and advised them to write in their own ways or else they would be stealing other's techniques. The form of Wyatt did not suit his, so he modified the sestet to be ccd eed keeping the octave as it is. His poetry took 2 tracts: His beloved Stella whom he wrote to and to poetry.