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Sonnet 43

Oct 08, 1999 839 Words
Sonnet 43, A Touching Love Poem

If one were to ever receive a love poem, Shakespeare's Sonnet 43 would be and excellent poem to receive. The sonnet is addressed to the beloved of the speaker. The speaker talks about how the best thing he sees is upon the closing of his eyes, when he then pictures the beloved. The speaker talks about how the rest of the world is unworthy to look upon compared to the beloved. The speaker talks about how sleep is the best time, because that is when he can see the beloved in his dreams. Day is like night, dreary with waiting for the night to come, in order to see the beloved again. This sonnet is pretty much straight forward with what it says, but there are some examples of some literary techniques incorporated within the poem.

First off, this sonnet follows the typical form of most Shakespearean sonnets. It has 14 lines, which the typical rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg. The sonnet is also written in Iambic Pentameter. This sonnet deals with the traditional sonnet topic of love. Many sonnets throughout time have dealt with the topic of love. In this sonnet there are several examples of repetition of words within the same line.

The first two lines of Sonnet 43 start with the speaker declaring that he sees best when he closes his eyes, for all day he views things that go by unheeded, or are unworthy to look upon, when compared to the looks of the beloved. There are not many literary mechanisms in the first two lines. Both lines are end stopped, the first with a comma, and the second with a semi colon. This shows that the both line and two of the sonnet are individual thoughts that could stand alone, even though they are tied together.

Line three tells of how the speaker sees the beloved when he sleeps. Lines three and four are:

But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,

And, darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.

Line four seems to say that the speaker is turned to the brightness of the beloved in the midst of the darkness of sleep. This line is the first example of the repetition with the phrase "darkly bright" and the words "bright" and "dark". This adds in to the whole concept of the poem, which deals a lot with night and day. Darkly bright is a contradiction in terms, but at the same time seems to maybe be in reference to the beloved, that in the darkness of night, the beloved is bright. Both the lines five and six display the repetition of words also.

Then thou, whose shadows shadows doth make bright,

How would thy shadow's form form happy show

To the clear day with thy much clearer light,

When to unseeing eyes they shade shines so!
These lines say that the beloved's shadows of shadows, or maybe just the picture of the beloved makes things bright, line six starts a question of how could the shadow seen during the day be a happy sight during the day, when it is hard to see shadows, and how it is much better in the night to picture the beloved. In this poem shadows are not what is cast upon the ground due to light, but the image the speaker sees in his mind.

Line eight shows an example of alliteration by using the words "shade shines so". The "sh" sound is a softer sound, and makes the phrase sound more romantic and loving. Line nine is an enjambed line tying to it line ten. These lines along with line eleven continue with the day and night theme. The speaker is asking how would his eyes be blessed by looking on the beloved in the day, when while the speaker is sleeping the visions of the beloved never leave while he is asleep.

The ending couplet once more mentions both night and day:

All days are nights to see till I see thee,

And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.

In the couplet it switches days and nights, saying days are nights, or the days are dark and sad, until the speaker sees the beloved, and nights are as bright as day when the speakers dreams show the beloved in them. Again in these two lines you find a repetition of words, in this case the words day and night.

Sonnet 43 makes use of several forms of poetic and literary techniques. Among them are enjambment, alliteration, and the repetition of words. Shakespeare doesn't do anything overly fancy with this sonnet, but it still comes across as a very well written sonnet, with lots of meaning to the person who reads it.

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