Close Reading - Sonnet 71 Shakespeare

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Sonnet 71

No longer mourn for me when I’m dead.
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell.
Give warning to the world that I’m fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe
Oh, if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am with clay
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse
But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan
And mock you with me after I’m gone.
William Shakespeare
In the Sonnet 71, the speaker has a main purport of convincing his lover to forget him when he’s dead; this persuasion is made following the structure of the Shakespearian poem, containing arguments and a heroic couplet revealing the conclusion. The whole sonnet is worked around the pessimism and excessive fears of the speaker, who even though has a lover that loves him back acts unaffectedly about dying since he believes he’ll be in a better place.

The speaker starts out by pleading to his lover not to mourn when death comes onto him “No longer mourn for me when I’m dead.” (line 1). Not only should she not mourn him, but she should also let the world know that he’s gone to a better place. “Give warning to the world that I’m fled / From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell.”(lines 3-4) the speaker uses personification to refer to human beings “vilest worms” in order to make it clear his opinion about the world and offer a justification for thinking that death leads to a better place; the speaker wants to transmit the idea that even though his dead body will be consumed by worms, during his life he has encountered vilest ones, and therefore death will be easier than life. This concept of leaving the world and going to a better place is the first argument of the ones that constitutes this...
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