Empathy and Sidney's "With How Sad Steps, O Moon"

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One of the strongest interpersonal skills that we have is empathy. When someone is feeling sad for a specific reason, it really helps to talk with someone else who has gone through the same experience. That's why there are groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. People who have gone through a similar situation to yours understand the emotions that you feel and the questions that you have. Don't get me wrong, other friends are good to have around to listen to you, but they can only imagine what you are going through. They can't understand.

In the poem, "with How Sad Steps, O Moon," Sir Philip Sidney looks for an empathetic shoulder to cry on in a rather odd place. Te speaker has been thwarted by a woman and is quite upset by it all. Probably while walking at night, the speaker sees the moon and imagines that the moon is just as sad and pale as himself. He perceives that since they are looking the same, they must have experienced similar circumstances. Seeing the moon, his own heart cries out saying, "I know your pain for I am experiencing the same."

Having established the fact that they are brothers of experience, Sidney begins to ask the moon questions that he has been pondering, hoping that perhaps the moon can give him some answers. They are almost certainly questions that are reeling in his head form his own past relationship. From his questions we find that, apparently the woman that he loved didn't love him. On the surface, it appears to be that he is concerned with the moon's plight. He addresses the moon in an almost, "Oh, you look sad. Tell me what's wrong," sort of way. However, when you really look at it, it's just a guy saying, "Hey, you look sad. I'm sad too. Let me tell you about my troubles." But looking at the way that he addresses the moon and the type of questions that he asks, he is saying, "Here's how it is here. Is it like this there, too?"
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