Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sonnet Group Work #152

This is part of the group work we did in class a couple of weeks ago. My group focused on Sonnet #152. The reason why it is so dark is because Shakespeare is no longer dealing with courtly love poetry, and his love for the Dark Lady is the opposite of ideal. Because the love for the dark lady includes a sexual relationship, it is tainted and can not be considered love like in the Young Man sonnets, which had a clear barrier between the man and his love object. Here it is:

In loving thee thou know'st I am forsworn,
But thou art twice forsworn, to me love swearing,
In act thy bed-vow broke and new faith torn,
In vowing new hate after new love bearing.
But why of two oaths' breach do I accuse thee,
When I break twenty? I am perjured most;
For all my vows are oaths but to misuse thee
And all my honest faith in thee is lost,
For I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness,
Oaths of thy love, thy truth, thy constancy,
And, to enlighten thee, gave eyes to blindness,
Or made them swear against the thing they see;
For I have sworn thee fair; more perjured I,
To swear against the truth so foul a lie!

Language, Themes, Images

            -In the early Dark Lady sonnets, especially #130, Shakespeare is more honest: “My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun” is an example of how Shakespeare has stopped sugarcoating the flaws of his love object. It seems that in the Dark Lady sonnets, Shakespeare writes as if he is confessing, rather than idealizing.

            -Eventually, at #152, Shakespeare confesses that he lied, to himself and to everybody else, in order to idealize the Dark Lady: “To enlighten thee gave eyes to blindness, or made them swear against the thing they see”. Shakespeare flat out says that he was blinded in his descriptions of her, and that he is now a liar because of it.

            -Not only has Shakespeare lied, he is deeply regretful of having to lie in the first place: “For I have sworn thee fair—more perjured eye/To swear against the truth, so foul a lie”. In other words: I swore that you were perfect, and I have made myself a liar. The so-called truth is a lie.

            -According to Shakespeare, both he and his Dark Lady are liars. “Why of two oaths do I accuse thee,/ when I break twenty, I am perjured most/ For all my vows (poetry) are oaths to misuse (lie to) you”. They have both lied to each other and lied with each other, but Shakespeare more so, because he has documented his own lies through the previous sonnets.

            -Relating to #138, “Therefore I lie with her, and she with me”. Shakespeare accepts the fact that they both have lied. He has surrendered.


Love’s New Definition

            -Love is a binding contract—an oath—a promise. Love still remains a symbol of the Poem, and it is also known as a contract.

            -In relation to his object of love, Shakespeare is confronting the Dark Lady, as well as the Young Man who has not fulfilled his promises of perfection. Ultimately, the sonnet is lost as a love poem and becomes an insult.

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