A Critical Analysis Of William


In order for a poem to be classified as a sonnet, it must meet certain structural requirements, and Sonnet 138, “When my love swears that she is made of truth,” is a perfect example. Shakespeare employs the traditional rhyme scheme of the English sonnet, the poem is made up of three quatrains and a rhyming couplet, and iambic pentameter is the predominant meter. However, it would be an error to approach this poem as a traditional Shakespearean love sonnet. It is a ‘love’ poem in the sense that a relationship between two lovers is the central theme, but the reader is offered a somewhat unexpected viewpoint. The stylistic constraints of the sonnet form are extremely ...

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begins with a “When” clause, launching the reader on a sentence of indeterminate length and subsequently leaving us with expectation, in suspense, at the end of the line. The woman is emphatic: she does not merely tell the truth, she is made of truth. Both the nature of this truth, and the reason for her swearing it, are unknown to the reader. The immediate thought is that the speaker has challenged her in some way, and whether or not this is correct, it is certainly an unconventional way to begin a love poem.
The second line, “I do believe her, though I know she lies,” introduces the reader to the wry humour that is an important feature of this sonnet. The humour is produced by the comic contradiction between outward behaviour (since the speaker’s belief in her words is a reaction to her speech and thus a social act) and inward: his knowledge that she is lying. The narrator’s calm tone evokes confusion: he is not angry with the woman, nor does ...

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knows the truth about both his age and his experience. Another richly complicated word here is “Simply,” which begins the third line of this stanza. Given the paradoxes of the previous lines, it is
probably the last word one might have expected here: it begs the question, ‘is it at all simple to believe a liar?’ The word is additionally reinforced because its meter shows the only deviation from iambic pentameter in the whole poem. Instead there is a spondee, forcing the reader to pay more attention to what is meant by the use of this word, by slowing down the reading. The phrase “simple truth” also holds a great deal of meaning. If the reader suspected ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 11/28/2007 03:50:56 AM
Category: English
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1484
Pages: 6

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