Sonnet 146 Critical Analysis

Sonnet 146 Critical Analysis

  • Submitted By: denise1850
  • Date Submitted: 09/19/2013 11:54 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1128
  • Page: 5
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Sonnet 146 Denise Kontara

William Shakespeare's 'Sonnet 146' reads as an internal monologue, fundamentally the protagonist is addressing himself. Although the use of transition between multiple metaphors has often been critiqued. As Fred Hasson (2013) suggests “The metaphors are choppy, jumping quickly from the mansion to the worms, and then to Death eating man and vice-versa. The "cost" theme mixes uneasily with the soul/body comparison.”, through a powerful use of metaphor as well as religious notions, the poet brings light to the idea of materialism and earthly greed as catalysts for the souls entrapment in the body and furthermore addresses the potential escape from such boundaries into eternal life.

Despite it's ability to appeal to both Christian and Non-Christian audiences, Sonnet 146 has been often declared one of Shakespeare's more Christian poems (David E. Anderson, 2005). This very accurately acts as a reflection of the poems context, with legal requirements on churches to read Psalms from The Book of Common Prayer monthly at the time. Richmond Noble (1940, p4) in 'Shakespeare's Biblical Knowledge' lists at least 135 Psalm references in Shakespeare's plays, also vouching for other such references in the sonnets. Shakespeare's awareness and furthermore use of several pauline paradoxes becomes apparent through the close study of the thematic structure and development of the Sonnet. Noticeably, paradoxes in Sonnet 146 work to emphasise the disparity between the initial state of the soul and the desired state expressed at the end comparable to Paul's ironic use of paradox when contrasting the 'appearance he has in the world's eyes and the reality of his life in God's site'. (Robert Hillis Goldsmith, 1978. p99)

The initial metaphor 'Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth', acts as an immediate establishment of the nature and subject of the sonnet, developing the idea and sense of captivity of the soul within the body or 'earth', instrument and...

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