Sonnet 146 is well known for its deeply intriguing religious aspect, as it is one of Shakespeare’s religious sonnets and almost the only religious one. It is religious as its tone mentions its concern with heaven, asceticism and also the progress of the soul all through out the sonnet. The idea that the poet was trying to convey to his audience is that the body exists at the expense of the soul, so that adorning or worrying about its beauty can only be accomplished at the souls expense. The poem is an internal monologue, which makes it first person point of view. This helps the audience understand that he is talking to himself and whom he is talking about. This sonnet can also be referred to as mediation between the soul and the body relationship.
The imagery in the first line ‘my sinful earth’ stands out as it has a stronger tone with iambic pentameter, which causes ‘my’ to have an emphasised tone. The sentence then reflects the image of us, as it is our responsibility to keep this earth well. With the use of Shakespears imagery throughout the sonnet, he did a good job on structuring the poem so that we can understand the basis of our life and then moves onto more religious aspects of the sonnet.
Sound is also a technique used in the poem to slow down the pace. In line 11 ‘buy terms divine in selling hours of dross’, sounds smooth because of the slight consonance sound of ‘s’ and makes this line sound serious and gloomy.
Throughout the sonnet the speaker is continuously asking himself questions. This affected myself as when I was reading the poem it started to make me think about all the rhetorical questions. Is this really life? The poets use of rhetorical questions through out the sonnet is quite redeeming as he asks his soul why it allows itself to suffer for the sake of its ‘sinful earth’. In line 7 of the sonnet the poet questions his soul’s expenditure on bodily ‘excess’ knowing that it will all go to the worms in the end anyway.
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