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What is a critical interpretation of "Sonnet 10" of Edmund Spenser's Amoretti?

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juleeaziz | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:17 PM via web

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What is a critical interpretation of "Sonnet 10" of Edmund Spenser's Amoretti?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:48 PM (Answer #1)

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One thing to note about Spenser's Amoretti is that the sonnets address and praise a potential lover in a realistic rather than an overly idealized way. Sonnet 10 is part of the first section of Spenser's sonnet cycle (Amoretti) in which the speaker is pursuing his beloved. He is madly in love with her but is frustrated that she has not yet returned that love. 

Unlike Shakespeare's sonnets which tend to have a progressive rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg, Spenser's rhyme scheme flows together in a more interconnected way because each quatrain begins by rhyming with the previous line: abab bcbc cdcd ee. This interconnection, purposeful or not, exemplifies the interconnection of all the sonnets in Amoretti

In the first quatrain, the speaker vents his frustration to the personified Love and laments the fact that the woman he loves is remote, perhaps even making love with someone else, "The whiles she lordeth in licentious blisse". This rhetorical device of addressing an abstract idea (Love) is called apostrophe. The fourth and fifth lines, which continue the rhyme, both express the speaker's frustration (to Love) that his would-be lover is (voluntarily or involuntarily, unknowingly) teasing him. 

Of her freewill, scorning both thee and me?
See! how the Tyrannesse doth ioy to see
The huge massacres which her eyes do make, 

("ioy" is joy and huge is sometimes spelled "hugh" in older translations) 

In the next lines, the speaker suggests that Love captures humble (needy) hearts, lured by things such as the woman's beautiful eyes. If the woman does not return that love, or if she is remote, it is as if Love is taking vengeance on those who would be so humble as to express their love in the first place. This is the feeling of rejection. 

However, the speaker supposes or hopes that Love (his love or "Love" in general) will humble this woman and shake her proud heart. As much as the speaker pines for her, he does not idolize her or idealize her to a position superior to himself. In fact, he wants their love to be real and for that to happen, they must be equals. He hopes that, despite her "high look" (beauty and pride in her beauty), she will be humbled by love and will bow to a "baser mate" (someone basic, realistic, someone like the speaker). Thereby, she will be humbled as he was by her beauty; then they will be equals. 

That I may laugh at her in equall sort
As she doth laugh at me, and makes my pain her sport. 


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juleeaziz | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 9, 2013 at 8:52 PM (Answer #2)

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One thing to note about Spenser's Amoretti is that the sonnets address and praise a potential lover in a realistic rather than an overly idealized way. Sonnet 10 is part of the first section of Spenser's sonnet cycle (Amoretti) in which the speaker is pursuing his beloved. He is madly in love with her but is frustrated that she has not yet returned that love. 

Unlike Shakespeare's sonnets which tend to have a progressive rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg, Spenser's rhyme scheme flows together in a more interconnected way because each quatrain begins by rhyming with the previous line: abab bcbc cdcd ee. This interconnection, purposeful or not, exemplifies the interconnection of all the sonnets in Amoretti

In the first quatrain, the speaker vents his frustration to the personified Love and laments the fact that the woman he loves is remote, perhaps even making love with someone else, "The whiles she lordeth in licentious blisse". This rhetorical device of addressing an abstract idea (Love) is called apostrophe. The fourth and fifth lines, which continue the rhyme, both express the speaker's frustration (to Love) that his would-be lover is (voluntarily or involuntarily, unknowingly) teasing him. 

Of her freewill, scorning both thee and me?
See! how the Tyrannesse doth ioy to see
The huge massacres which her eyes do make, 

("ioy" is joy and huge is sometimes spelled "hugh" in older translations) 

In the next lines, the speaker suggests that Love captures humble (needy) hearts, lured by things such as the woman's beautiful eyes. If the woman does not return that love, or if she is remote, it is as if Love is taking vengeance on those who would be so humble as to express their love in the first place. This is the feeling of rejection. 

However, the speaker supposes or hopes that Love (his love or "Love" in general) will humble this woman and shake her proud heart. As much as the speaker pines for her, he does not idolize her or idealize her to a position superior to himself. In fact, he wants their love to be real and for that to happen, they must be equals. He hopes that, despite her "high look" (beauty and pride in her beauty), she will be humbled by love and will bow to a "baser mate" (someone basic, realistic, someone like the speaker). Thereby, she will be humbled as he was by her beauty; then they will be equals. 

That I may laugh at her in equall sort
As she doth laugh at me, and makes my pain her sport. 

 

 

 Thanks a million for your valubale effective information.

 

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