Sonnet 29 gives voice to some of Shakespeare’s most insecure moments. His world is falling apart all around him and he is inundated with sadness and dissatisfaction towards his current life. He is consumed with jealousy when he compares his life to others. There is still quite a bit of mystery surrounding the actual events that could cause such feelings in Shakespeare, and it is possible that the sonnet is not autobiographical in nature. No matter the cause, however, Shakespeare is able to overcome this hopelessness by remembering the love he feels for another. The language and structure in this sonnet is also conducive to exposing an audience inexperienced with the works of Shakespeare to the poetic rhythm and methods used in his sonnets:WEBSITE: Shakespeare Online,http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/29detail.htmlJOURNAL:W. Johns, Shakespeare for a new age: Teacher to Teacher. The English Journal, Vol. 92 No. 1, 19 ( Sept. 2002)
“When you hear the name Shakespeare you probably imagine something like this”This is the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. Most young people with no experience reading Shakespeare will associate his name with often used pop culture references.
“Or Maybe you would rather do this!”Due to a lack of historical background, and difficulties with the language Shakespeare employs, most students do not have the desire to read his works.Book: D. Bevington, The Complete works of Shakespeare 5th edition (Longman, 2003)
“But what if I told you that that a single sonnet could capture some of the most important feelings and experiences that you may have felt in your own life?”“And that reading Shakespeare is easier than you may have been led to believe….”“We will approach this sonnet by looking at it in small segments. When we do this, try to put yourself in the speaker’s shoes, and perhaps you may see some of yourself reflected in his words.”
“Let us begin with the first quatrain.” “When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,I all alone beweep my outcast stateAnd trouble deaf heaven with my bootless criesAnd look upon myself and curse my fate”“Haven’t we all felt despair? Haven’t we all felt solitude and unlucky in our own lives? The speaker has set the stage in his opening lines by describing the anguish he feels about his life’s direction.”The first line alone illustrates the speaker’s degree of self-consciousness. In disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes alludes to his feelings of unluckiness (perhaps in reference to material possession). His sadness builds to the point to where he vainly cries to heaven for salvation from this despair, but is left only to dwell in his own self-pity.JOURNAL:W. Johns, Shakespeare for a new age: Teacher to Teacher. The English Journal, Vol. 92 No. 1, 19 ( Sept. 2002)
“As the sonnet progresses the inadequacies and self pity the speaker feels start to take form. His physical appearance, lack of friends, the utter hopelessness that he feels flows freely. He cannot find happiness in anything, not even in the things he used to love.
“Here the mood of the sonnet begins to change. He reflects upon his love and the way he feels about himself radically changes”“The first line in this quatrain is the pivot on which this mood swings. Yet in these thoughts almost despising…He not only judges his own life compared to others, but he begins to judge his previous judgment of himself. The fuel for this changing self perspective is his memory of some person in his life for which he has a great deal of love. “JOURNAL:W. Johns, Shakespeare for a new age: Teacher to Teacher. The English Journal, Vol. 92 No. 1, 19 ( Sept. 2002)
“The stained veil through which he viewed the world has now lifted. He begins to see and experience the opposite end of the emotional spectrum.”“This transformation in how he views himself is one of the central ideas to take away from this sonnet”
“These transformations are not only found in the imagery and mood, however, but are also supported words of the sonnet itself.”“In disgrace with Fortune becomes haply. Unheard pleas to heaven transforms to singing praises at its very gates.”The central ideas in each octave are paralleled and transformed in the sonnet’s sestet. Such subtle verbal manipulation is found in many of Shakespeare’s sonnet’s. It is certainly true that you really have to analyze his sonnet’s line by line in order to gain the full measure of not only his imagery but his intent with his wordplay.JOURNAL:W. Johns, Shakespeare for a new age: Teacher to Teacher. The English Journal, Vol. 92 No. 1, 19 ( Sept. 2002)
“The speaker’s view of himself has changed to such an extent that no amount of material possession, good fortune, or respect could replace the love he feels. This love alone is enough combat all the of ills and misfortune he feels exist in his own life.”“Is there anything that you love in your own life to this extent? That No matter how bad your day its very presence is able to bring you joy.”“If so, then maybe you have more in common with Shakespeare than you thought.”