Anglophone Literature I – 2014 Teacher’s name: Tanoni, Cynthia
Students’ names: Arias, Antonella - Brito, Priscila
Analysis of a Poem:
“Sonnet XXXIV” by Edmund Spenser
“Sonnet XXXIV” is a lyrical poem written by Edmund Spenser in the 16th century, during the Renaissance age. It was published as part of the Amoretti sonnet cycle, along with 88 other sonnets, which describe the poet's courtship and eventual marriage to Elizabeth Boyle. In “Sonnet XXXIV” Spenser describes a ship at sea that cannot navigate by the stars because clouds of a storm have blocked the sight of them, so it has lost its way. With the author’s specific use of poetic devices, the poem comes to describe his own feelings regarding his relationship with his beloved. In the first quatrain, Spenser introduces what will be the core image of the poem. He begins with a simile in the first line “Lyke as a ship that through the Ocean wyde” thus introducing the ship that will be compared to something else further. The quatrain continues introducing a metaphor, mentioning a star as a “trusty guyde” (line 3), which will guide the navigation until its sight is blocked by a storm, which makes the ship to wander in the wrong direction.
In the second quatrain the referent of the simile is made clear by the use of the personal pronoun “I”, which suggests that the metaphoric ship refers to Spenser himself. Moreover, in line 5 there is an instance of personification as the poet refers to the star as “her” in “her bright ray”, implying an underlying metaphor whereby he actually refers to his loved one. Thus explaining that he has gone astray (since he no longer counts on her guidance, and that he finds himself fearful and vulnerable to what might happen if she is gone). In the third quatrain, Spenser turns from expressing despair to expressing hope that when the storm is past, Elizabeth, “the lodestar of his life" will shine upon him again and restore him to happiness. In...
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