Sonnet 291





Rob Benkovic

Mrs. Stahl

Period 8

5/8/00

Explication of “Sonnet 29”

The reader can find Shakespeare’s dilemma in the first two stanzas. His problem is quite clear: he is lonely and depressed. As an outcast of society, he feels unlucky and thinks that there is no hope for him. Not even God can help him. Money and riches he does not desire; all he asks for is to be liked by others. He also admires other men’s writing talent and knowledge, which he feels he does not have.
Shakespeare offers the solution to his problem in the third and fourth stanza. Telling of the man to whom he writes this sonnet to, Shakespeare says that when he feels downhearted, he can look toward him. When he looks upon the man, it makes him feel complete. Like the bird that wakes early to sing to the heavens, the man seems to wash away Shakespeare’s anguish and misery.
This sonnet is a perfect example of an English Sonnet, characterized by three quatrains followed by a single couplet. The end rhyme in such sonnets is as follows: ABABCDCDEFEFGG. The meter in this specific sonnet, for the most part, is iambic pentameter. However, lines 3, 9, and 11 include an extra syllable.
The author uses simile in lines 4, 5, and 11. In line 11, “break of day” can be classified as a dead metaphor. The only assonance found in this Sonnet is in line 7: “…man’s art and that man’s scope,”. There is also one line that shows consonance, it is line 9: “Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,”.




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