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Analysis Of Shakespeare’s Sonnet #23

1625 words - 7 pages

Shakespeare’s Sonnet #23 is addressed to the lovely young man, called WH. The speaker is trying to convey his complex feeling towards his lover. He is tongue-tied in the young man’s company and he is trying to explain this awkwardness and express his complex emotions in this sonnet. It is, the speaker says, due to the hugeness of his love, that makes it too heavy to carry. For the author this sonnet is a silent representation of his inner voice. To show the complexity of the situation, he compares poet’s role as a lover to an actor’s timidity onstage. He asks WH to read these silent lines and explains that love will give him the insight to read between lines. The sonnet consists of 14 lines, ...view middle of the document...

However, the image that follows is much more complicated in comparison with the shy actor showed in the first two lines of the sonnet. Here the persona goes further and compares himself to a wild animal, or “fierce thing” (23.3) to be clear. By using words “Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart” (23.4), the speaker points out that excessive rage, which corresponds to rage in speaker’s heart, gives this creature abundance of strength with the lack of control, making it even weaker. Also, he chooses to compare himself to “some fierce thing” (23.3) to make reader unable to create mental picture of this creature, showing complexity of his feelings. He could have used “someone with too much rage”, but he tried to make it more inhuman, which leads to reader thinking more about an animal than a human, illustrating very emotional feelings. The imperfect actor and the fierce actor are both enfeebled by emotions, which make them weaker, symbolizing the speaker’s love towards WH, and as a result they are rendered speechless.
Second quatrain starts with words “So I” (23.5), which make transition from comparison to others to direct speech about feelings of the speaker , who in the same way experience inability to find the right words. “So I, for fear of trust forget to say” (23.5) links the speaker to metaphors from the first quatrain, meaning that he has the same feelings with images he created in first lines. In this way the author makes an introduction to his feelings by comparing it to the same emotions of others in first quatrain, and then moves to words about his own feelings in the following part. First words of this quatrain show his fear to trust himself and that he is afraid of young man’s trust. In this line the writer explains his fear, which makes him unable to convey “The perfect ceremony of love’s rite” (23.6). The word perfect comes as an opposite for the unperfect actor described in the first two lines of the sonnet. Using this technique the speaker wants to show us that he is trying to find the perfect words to tell WH, but because of this perfectionism, he cannot find anything. Love’s rite is a fixed form of expressing person’s feelings and in this case it refers to these love sonnets, in which he is trying to express his deep feelings. These two lines appear as a parallel to the unperfect actor from two first lines, contrasting two opposite things.
Next, he writes, “And in mine own love’s strength seem to decay,”(23.7), comparing himself to the image of fierce thing, saying that his love towards the young man makes him weaker. He continues this idea in the next line: “O'ercharg'd with burden of mine own love's might.”(23.8) O'ercharg'd has the meaning of word overcharged, referring to an excess of something, which in this case describes how strong speaker’s own love's might towards WH. Therefore, the persona continues the idea of the first quatrain showing the difficulties he has when he tries to talk about his feelings...

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