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Transcript of Sonnet 138
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth supress'd
Why does she not confess that
she is a liar, and why do I not
reveal my age. love is very good
at creating facades of trust.
people do not like to be reminded
of their age.
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flatter'd be
When my love swears that she is made of truth/
I do believe her, even though I know she lies,/
That she might think me some untutor'd youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
She foolishly thinks me young,
even though she is aware of my maturity.
I blame her dishonesty
to why both sides are hidden from the truth
In the stanzas prior to the third one the writer has established the main thematic topic, that being the facade of truth in a relationship bound with a desperation for the intimacy that comes with an amours partnership . In the third stanza he begins with two rhetorical questions (
(stanza 3 lines 9&10) "But wherefore says she not she is unjust?/And wherefore say not i that i am old?" considering that the poet answers his own inquiry in that same couplet, it is obvious that the purpose of these questions is to establish and further the poets argument/opinion.)
that reveal the main falsehoods being construed by both individuals, this being deceit on the woman's part and willful ignorance on the males.However the author does not want us to focus literally on the lies being told, but simply wants us to acknowledge that some lovers will construct lies to prolong a relationship, because the the thought of being alone is worse than the notion of committing to a relationship that sates the physical necessities of a person if not the emotional ones like love..This is seen in line 11, "O, love's best habit is in seeming trust". The writer personifies 'love' (
(stanza 3 lines 11&12) " O, love's best habit is in seeming trust,/And age in love loves not to have years told"
this is considered personification because it is attributing human emotions to "love" and "age". age does not have the capability to form an opinion an whether or not it "loves not to have years told." And love does not have the physical ability to acquire a "best habit" or a worse habit.
and by stating that love's best habit, quality, or redeeming feature in loves characteristic ,is the facade it is able to present ,"seeming trust", that partners convey to each other he is stating that lies of omission are utilized in relationships to make the whole affair less troublesome and easier to deal with.
Stanza 3 Building of argument
Stanza 3 Diction
So I sleep with her and she with me
and we are both charmed by the pretense
my love claims that she is telling the truth
when i know for a fact that she sleeping with other men.
She thinks that i am young and naive,
inexperienced with the world and its slick lies.
His lover is a continuous liar who is so caught up in
her own lies, that she to is starting to believe them, even
though he still believes in her even when he knows not too. His love thinks he is just some naive boy who knows
nothing of the world or its white subtle lies. He is frustrated, but he also accepts the fact. He knows that he is mature and he sees the truth for what it is.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?/
And wherefore say not i that i am old?/
O,love's best habit is in seeming trust,/
And age in love love's not to have years told:
The poet, William Shakespeare dramatizes a mundane situation between everyday lovers. He contrasts the differences of truth and falsehood, by connecting both abstract concepts. William Shakespeare emphasizes this dilemma by utilizing a plethora of techniques in order to establish a
tone, this is seen throughout the entire poem. The poet begins with a slightly
tone, stating outright that his lover is lying and that he is highly aware of it, this creates a dynamic shift in the metaphorical relationship, making the male character the morally superior one in the relationship. However, in the stanza that proceeds, he contradicts himself by establishing his own moral follies thereby creating a
tone.having now established the errors in both sides of the relationship the poet then continues, in the following stanza, to employ both a
tone in order to come to the root and reason of lies in a relationship, which is stated in the final lines of the third stanza. this brings us to the fourth and final stanza which depicts a tone of
to the lack luster affair that he and his mistress maintain
untutor'd - unsophisticated, unenlightened, uneducated
subtleties - not obvious
The second quatrain reveals the reason behind the poets willful ignorance in regards to his mistress's infidelity, because she in return is willing to ignore his old age. The
in line 6,
"Although she knows my days are past the best"
demonstrates the insecurities the poet had with his age, by using the phrase
"past the best"
it is clear that he is uncomfortable with stating his age outright, thus he wantsthis truth to be suppressed and because of this he felt obligated to overlook her unfaithfulness. An agreement is set between the two lovers to pretend that she is faithful and he young, so that they may be content with their facade of a relationship.
The overall tone of the poem can be characterized as
since the poet makes no attempt cover up the dents in his relationship, instead he embraces them because that is what is sustaining the relationship.
The poet ,William Shakespeare, confesses that the conduct of the relationship is mainly of an intimate nature .the poet wields a
in order to support his statement:
(stanza 4 line 13) " Therefore i lie with her and she with me"
the reason that this is considered a double-entendre is because of the term "lie". There is a risque element to what is being said, by stating that the lovers "lie" together the poet means that they are indeed participating in an amorous relationship which requires a certain element of intimacy, at the same time that he is stating this , he is saying that they both participate in lying in order to maintain this affair that they have created. This reflects the theme of the poem, desperation for intimacy and fear of loneliness will veil flaws, even the most terrible faults.
And age in love loves not to have years told"
can be considered as which of the following:
"O, love's best habit is in seeming trust"
can be classified as which of the following:
Building of argument
Taking into account the knowledge that this poem is riddled with allusions to a specific type of relationship , that being one filled with natural human follies, the main point that keeps reaching out and proclaiming itself is the confounding truth that this relationship, this disastrous relationship filled with falsehoods and willful ignorance, works for both participants. Yes, it may seem that this affair is objective, but it
fulfills the physical and mental cravings that both lovers require.
the male sates his need to feel rejuvenated once again and the women, considering the time period from which this originates, secures a stable living.
Building of Argument
1. The poet is insecure about his immaturity.
His lover is unfaithful.
3. Their relationship is strictly intimate.
1. The poet is forthright about his feigned relationship.
2.The poet feels guilty for loving a younger woman
3. There is a shift in tone between quatrain 2 and quatrain 3
1. Personification can be found in quatrain 3, where love is personified.
2. The couplet is compromise of two rhetorical questions
3. There is euphemism in quatrain 2 that refers to the poet's old age.
1. According to the poet, his mistress believes he is well-aware of the world's cruelty.
2. At one point of the poem, the poet questions their lack of honesty.
3. The poet says he believe her, but he knows she is having an affair