The poem deals mainly with dishonesty and loyalty. Throughout the sonnet, Shakespeare focuses the reader's attention on the dishonest relationship the speaker shares with his lover. Both lie to each other about different aspects of their acquaintance and the nature of their commitment.
It is as if the couple is playing games with one another; both are dishonest in what they say and what they claim they believe. In lines one and two, for example, the speaker confesses that, even though he knows that his young lover is lying when she tells him that she is the epitome of veracity, he acts as if he believes she is telling the truth. He does this so she believes he is an inexperienced youngster, even though both of them know he is not.
The speaker emphasizes this fact in the second line of the second quatrain, stating,
Simply I credit her false speaking tongue
The speaker then acknowledges the fact that, in this manner, they both suppress the real truth. He rhetorically asks why she does not admit to being biased and why he does not do the same by acceding that he is, in fact, old. The answer is obvious, as he says in the next two lines. Love is at its best if it seems to be based on a truth, and when in love, one does not wish to be reminded of one's seniority.
It seems, therefore, that one can love with greater passion if the love is based on a lie and that dotage, as in the speaker's case, is preferable than being made aware of the discrepancy in age between lovers. It is a paradoxical situation. Both parties, however, seem to be happy with the arrangement, thrive in one another's presence, and remain loyal to each other.
The speaker emphasizes this particularity in the rhyming couplet by stating that he and his lover keep company and sleep with each other and are happy in this situation although they are both at fault. What binds them is the fact that they are flattered by each other's dishonesty.
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flatter'd be.
Shakespeare effectively conveys his message by using the word 'lie' as a pun throughout the poem to refer to the physical act of sleeping with another (a sexual connotation) and the telling of untruths. This play on the word "lie" makes the sonnet both humorous and thought-provoking and effectively denotes the paradox on which the speaker and his lover's relationship is built.
Critique of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 138 Essay
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Critique of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 138
In “Sonnet 138” also known as “When My Love Swears that she is Made of Truth” is a sonnet written by William Shakespeare, has many examples of literary elements such as personification and various types of rhyme. In “Sonnet 138” the author writes the sonnet in iambic pentameter and writes in an ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG rhyme scheme. The narrator also includes examples of connotation and denotation to help change the meaning of the poem. Throughout the sonnet the author obviously is an older man than the younger woman that he is dating. The younger woman talks to the speaker with lies. Even though that the speaker knows that they are lies he believes them anyway. Throughout the sonnet…show more content…
“Truth” and “youth” are considered slant rhyme because the first syllables in each word are different but the ending is the same. One more example is located in stanza two
lines five and seven, “young” and “tongue” are examples of masculine rhyme. “Young” and “tongue” are examples of sight rhyme because they are each one syllable that rhymes. Throughout the sonnet there are examples of literary elements. One element is personification. Personification is located in stanza two line seven “false speaking tongue”. This is considered personification because a tongue does not speak the words, a human speaks the words. Another literary element is metaphors. One example of a metaphor is located in stanza one line one “she is made of truth”. One person can not be literally be made of truth. Throughout the sonnet connotation and denotation change the meaning of some words. One example is located in stanza two line four, “vainly”. Denotatively means that it is useless. Connotative it means arrogance. Changing the meaning of the sonnet because the “young lady” thinks that the speaker is lying about his age. Though the “young lady” is also lying about her age as well. Different meanings of the word can change the meaning of the sonnet. Examples of connotation and denotation are included throughout the sonnet. One example is located in stanza three line eleven. Habit denotatively means is to do over