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Essay: Analysis Of Sonnet 95

1343 words - 6 pages

Analysis of Sonnet 95

 

How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame

Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose,

Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name!

Oh, in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose!

That tongue that tells the story of thy days,

Making lascivious comments on thy sport,

Cannot dispraise but in a kind of praise.

Naming thy name , blesses an ill report.

Oh what a mansion have those vices got

Which for thy habitation chose out thee,

Where beauty's veil doth cover every blot

And all things turns to fair that eyes can see!

Take heed, dear heart, of this large privelege:

The hardest knife ill used doth lose his edge.
...view middle of the document...

Now, if we read it with "name, blesses", both verbs, "naming" and "blesses" become nouns. How, might you ask, can we have two clauses without a verb? well, there is an implied 'to be' acting as the verb, such as the 'understood you' we all learned back in grade school in imperative (eg. [you] Don't smoke.) If we retrace our studies back, or rather foward (in the course of time), we see this in Keats's "Ode to a Grecian Urn". In the fifth stanze we read "Beauty is truth; truth beauty, that is all / ye know on earth and all ye need to know". Part of the understanding of "Ode" is that truth IS beauty. The same in Shakespeare. (Now, I'm not going to go into a discussion of the similiarities between Shakespeare and Keats, but know they exist). Therefore, the act of naming IS "thy name" and blesses (though presently we would say 'blessings') are an ill report. Wow! So there could be MORE ambiguity? How we love Shakespeare.

 

Third Quatrain

 

And oh! what a mansion indeed! Yes, (I know) what possibly could this "mansion" symbolize. Certainly something. It could be the addressee's actual house, but...probably not. We've come to expect a little more creativity from Shakespeare than this simplicity. I concur with you on the mansion being the body, and quite a compliment to somebody, too. These sins of adultry, as we might believe, come from the advantage of having a good body. We know this to be true of present day society--we all know that good-looking somebody who has multiple sexual partners, guy or girl. We also may view "mansion" as the housing of these sins in the way we call our 'memory' the house of our past experiences. Viewing it this way, we know Shakespeare believes this person must have a vast store of sins/vices. A deeper insight to the house is it, as in dreams (and this is more far-off, myself believing Shakespeare could have meant three different meanings for "mansion"), the house represents everything about the person--a room for everything about oneself. [Mansions of the Mind; catchy, huh?] We then could suppose that Shakespeare finds a fault or vice in many different areas of this person's psyche. Not buying it? Well, here's even one more possibility, although quite weak (one must rule out all possibilities, even if they may not occur). "Chose out" equals 'pick out' or simply 'chose'. If we read it as a phrasal verb--to choose out--then we read this line as 'The sins chose you for their house'. If we read it as only 'to choose', a different meaning arises--possibly appealing to a base vernacular ("mansion" here would make a FOURTH...

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