Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet Twenty-nine
Often time writers writing express their inner turmoil. Although there is no record saying that sonnet twenty-nine is a result of tumult facing Shakespeare at the time the sonnet was produced, it is safe to say that he did draw some inspiration from the state of his mental and financial well-being during that particular time of his life.
Some of the best writings are the writing one has lived. Fifteen ninety-two, the year sonnet twenty-nine was written, was not a good year for Shakespeare. The theatres closed due to the outbreak of a plague, bringing a halt to his livelihood; and literary writers, especially Green, criticized both him and his work. Undoubtedly sonnet twenty-nine was created from the onslaughts on him throughout this year. It could be called a short story or an autobiography of Shakespeare’s life in 1592. Hence this is hailed as one of his most popular sonnets.
Sonnet twenty-nine is written with dept, it was Shakespeare’s way of fighting back his attracters. The sonnet begins in a melancholy mood however, as it nears the end it bounces back, as if Shakespeare is saying I may be down but I will not stay down. He realizes that the love that is bestowed upon him is better than any man’s applaud or rejection. He begins the sonnet with self-loathing. He or the speaker life has changed drastically from what it used to be; he does not have money as he once had. To him that is a blow to his status and his vanity. Having no money and being ostracized have taken away his social status. The speaker is obviously distressed by his slide from social acceptance. The poem begins with almost a lamentation; there is no one left in his corner and he feels like an outcast. “When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,/ I all alone bewept my outcast cast state” (lines 1, II). These two lines appear to be the worse part of his depression.
In line three Shakespeare personifies heaven; he does not say he prays and his prayers are not answered but “trouble deaf heaven.” It seems as if he is aware that his requests are a presumptuous but he will try anyhow. This is confirmed as he adds “bootless cries” to the line. Useless prayers are a theme in Shakespeare’s writing; he did it in Macbeth; “Listening their fear, I could not say 'Amen,'/ When they did say 'God bless us'/ But wherefore could not I pronounce 'Amen'?/ I had most need of blessing, and 'Amen'/ Stuck in my throat” (Act II, Scene II). And he did it in Hamlet “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below./ Words without thoughts never go to heaven” (Hamlet Act III Scene III).
Another theme that is popular in Shakespeare’s writing his Biblical allusions. Like Job he feels that he has done nothing to be punished this way and he wonders why. Like Job, friends, position, everything is gone and as Job curses the day he was born; Shakespeare courses his fate. Even in this time of despair, he is conscious of his self-pitying and he rebukes himself for being weak and he wishes he had more faith and could rest with the assurance that there are better days ahead; “Wishing me like to one more rich in hope” (line5). Despite this recognition, the speaker wants to be someone else and he uses simile to compare him with the person he wants to be. “Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,/Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,/ Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,” (lines 6,7). In line seven the speaker expresses what is really troubling him; he does not want to be like just any other man with friends and acceptance. To be able to write well and gain popularity is the man he wants to be most like.
The sonnet is divided into two equal parts the first half the speaker spends bewailing his misfortune and the second half he spends reproaching himself for ignoring the undeserved love that is right before his eyes; and conveying his delight of his good-fortune of having such a love bestowed upon him. The moment he grasp this fact; the sonnet changes from lamentation to celebration. The speaker realizes that he could have saved himself much grief if he had only stop to appreciate what he already has; at this point he is the one to be envied.; he says; “With what I most enjoy contented least,” (line 8).The tone of the sonnet becomes much happier than when it began. The speaker almost despises himself for forgetting such a love.
The speaker illustrates his new found joy by using a simile to compare the peace that now abounds within him. “Haply I think on thee, and then my state,/ Like to the lark at break of day arising/ From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate” (lines 10-12). Like most people Shakespeare had to be brought into a state of impoverishment before he could value what is most important to hm. His description of his love is done with simple language but the words are well chosen and most affective. The singing of the lark mingled with daybreak brings the image to the reader that Shakespeare would like to convey to his readers. The happy tone continues as the sonnet comes to an end. having discovered that he is really rich and does not need men’s applaud to feel good. The joy, the love of his life is with him and he would not exchange this for riches or acceptance into any royal circle.
It is the norm that most people do not value what they have until they come close to lose it. Fortunate for Shakespeare he understood before it was too late that what society thinks about him does not really matter as long as he can bask in the love of someone who truly loves him; a love that makes him richer than kings and makes him happier than any accolade he could receive from the literary community.