Explanation of Shakepeare's Sonnet 147

Topics: Lust, Love, Punctuation Pages: 4 (1422 words) Published: September 11, 2013
Love is a Disease: An Explication of Sonnet 147
Love is a disease. Desire is deadly. When one thinks about Shakespeare’s sonnets, the instinctual response is the thought of romance. For instance the adoring lines, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day/ Thou are more lovely and more temperate” (Sonnet 18, 1-2), are thought to be the most famous words from a Shakespearean sonnet. However, instead of describing love in a starry-eyed fashion, Shakespeare discusses the punitive characteristics of love in Sonnet 147. The persona describes love as an infectious illness caused by sexual appetites. The persona’s mind knows better than to indulge his appetite, but he does not listen to his logic. He begins the sonnet by stating the primary issue: love is a disease. He transitions into explaining that the cure for this disease is reason, however he does not have hope that he can starve his sexual desire. He finally shifts to a more frantic state and in the end addresses the cause of his illness, the dark lady. Shakespeare articulates his hostile definition of love through fashioning love as a disease to display the tribulations of love, lust, and desire.

In the first quatrain, there is the statement of the sonnet’s primary topic, which is that love is a disease. The content suggests the battle between love versus sexual appetite. His love is diseased because he has an intense appetite for lust, which when indulged in makes the disease worse. Shakespeare utilizes the metaphor “My love is as a fever” (Sonnet 147, 1) at the very beginning of the poem to make a strong statement that his love is a disease, and also to introduce the main idea throughout the sonnet. The placement of the metaphor displays that his unenthusiastic viewpoint of love is prominent. Secondly, he utilizes punctuation to create a clear argument. After the metaphor, “My love is as a fever,” (1) there is a comma dividing the first line in half. This comma is not a hard punctuation mark,...
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