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Transcript of Sonnet 29
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising,
From sullen earth, sings himself at heaven's gate,
For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings. Sonnet 29 Sonnet Structure & Scheme William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Became an important member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men's Company of Theatrical Players in 1594.
Wrote most of his plays in a span of 20 years
Famous for having mysterious origins - There are only two primary sources of information that give historians hints into his life (his works and a small collection of church documents)
No birth records exist, however, historians do know that he was the child of a leather merchant and a "local landed heiress"
Worked as a playwright and helped mold and shape the theater pastime during the Elizabethan Era
Allegedly Bisexual despite having married Anne Hathaway and having 3 children as well as multiple other affairs with strange women Writer's Background & Significance Sonnet 29 was written during the Elizabethan Era (1558-1603), a time of prosperity and growth for England under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth was known to be a lover of the arts, particularly painting and elaborate textiles, however, Literature and Poetry also flourished during this time period. Playwrights Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and William Shakespeare were very popular and their work molded and shaped the increasingly popular theater, a spectacle which became a popular pastime among many social classes in England and eventually spread across Europe as a whole.
The Elizabethan Era is significant to not only Sonnet 29 but to Shakespeare's career as a writer. Elizabeth I was considered highly educated for a woman, especially a privileged member of the Tudor Dynasty. She was extremely interested in the cultures and arts of her people and encouraged them to pursue these passions, thus creating many opportunities for actors and playwrights such as Shakespeare.
Another large theme during the Elizabethan Era was the view on sexual orientation and of course, witchcraft. In this time period, Homosexual relations were referred to as "buggery" and were punishable by death as this nation was predominately Protestant and had strong beliefs that Homo/Bisexuality was a sin. Despite this belief, it was a common practice and many upper class males and Lords had these relations with lovers and if caught, they were usually ousted by Society and looked down upon. Literary Time Period & Significance In Sonnet 29, the speaker often refers to his "state" as an outcast in almost a distraught manner which is more presently evident in the first few lines of the Sonnet. The speaker even goes as far as to say that he wishes for the skill, freedom, and comradeship of other men.
In the last couplet, the speaker then redeems his depressed mental state by professing his love for an unknown character. He declares that thinking of this love fills him with so much joy that he would not trade his position as a social outcast for the position of a King.
Although we cannot assume that the speaker in Sonnet 29 is Shakespeare himself, we can use historical background in order to draw clues that might insinuate that he is portraying himself. In-Depth Analysis Follows the usual structure of a Shakespearean Sonnet
Contains 14 lines and is written in Iambic Pentameter
Rather than following the traditional ABAB CDCD EFEF GG scheme, it contains a ABAB CDCD EBEB FF pattern The following websites were used as references for the analysis of Sonnet 29 and the creation of our project.
www.shakespeare-online.com Works Cited William Shakespeare When I've fallen out of favor with fortune and men (Society),
All alone I weep over my position as a social outcast,
and pray to heaven, but my cries go unheard,
and I look at myself and curse my fate,
Wishing I were like one with more hope,
Wishing I looked like him and had more friends,
Wishing I had one man's skill and another man's freedom,
I am least contented with the things I used to enjoy the most,
But in these thoughts, as I almost despise myself,
I happen, by chance, to think of you, my depression,
Like the lark at the break of day, rises,
From dark earth and I sing hymns to heaven,
For thinking of your sweet love brings me such happiness,
That I wouldn't change my position with that of a King's. Paraphrasing Sonnet 29 Analysis Continued (2/2) In Shakespeare's time, Bi/Homosexuality was very common despite marriages, but was viewed as a sin and any male accused of having these relations would be ousted from society.
Shakespeare himself was allegedly accused of being Bisexual and many historians have speculated that his affairs with other men weren't well-kept secrets, as he may have hinted to them in a few of his other works such as Sonnet 20 where the narrator refers to a younger man as the 'master-mistress of my passion" and tells the youth to sleep with women, but to love only him. ("Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure")
Based on these facts, it is possible to infer that Shakespeare either had or knew someone whom he based his Sonnets off of and had Homoerotic thoughts and relationships with lovers.
Shakespeare could have used this as a way to declare his love for another man while accepting the social consequences for his actions, as the speaker does by stating that this love fills him with so much happiness that he would rather be an outcast than to trade his position with that of a King.