Shakespeare's Sonnets: An Analysis of the Literary Road to Emotional Hell

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Shakespeare’s Sonnets|
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An Analysis of Their Literary Highway to Emotional Hell|

In Shakespeare’s Sonnet #129, the reader is introduced to the despair of the lover (“Mad, in pursuit, and in possession so; / Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme; / A bliss in proof and, proved, a very woe; / Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.” (lines 9 -12). By this point in the sonnets, the Lover has almost reached the end of their emotional rope. When comparing Sonnet 129 with Sonnets #27 (in which the Lover is giddy and in the throes of initial lust over the Beloved) and #61 (where the Lover bemoans the fact that visions of the Beloved torment them and keep them awake), one can conclude that the emotional roller coaster has lead the Lover to the point where they are forced to confront the conclusion that even though they know that unsavory activities are conducted in the pursuit of lust and love, they are not smart enough avoid the emotional highs that brought them to their lows (“All this the world knows; yet none knows well / To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.” (lines 13 – 14).

In Sonnet #27, the Lover declares how the Beloved is always on their mind: For when my thoughts, far from where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see; (lines 5 – 8)

The Lover expresses that they get no rest because their nights are occupied (in a positive way) by thoughts of the Beloved: Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new. (lines 9 – 12) The couplet of Sonnet #27 identifies the Lover’s thoughts and feelings most succinctly:
Lo, thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee and for myself no quiet find. (lines 13 – 14)

These are the words and deeds of an individual who is smitten with another.
In contrast,...
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