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What is the moral in Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare?

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hunny | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 15, 2008 at 9:56 PM via web

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What is the moral in Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare?

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renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted March 15, 2008 at 10:32 PM (Answer #1)

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There are several ways to define the moral of this poem. One might be-be grateful for what you have and quit wishing for more. The speaker appears to be unsatisfied with what he is given. He wants a host of things he does not have, but envies in others-a wealth of friends, money, or admiration.

The speaker finds relief from his state of hopelessness by discovering that his worship of his beloved is his source of happiness. The speaker had spent a great deal of time grieving over what he did not have in his life instead of appreciating what he did have. He did not realize what he had, and now he finds peace and bliss in this relationship.


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dbasch | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 2, 2009 at 2:08 AM (Answer #2)

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The solution to the problem of a difficult situation spelled out in Sonnet 29 and the envy this brings on of those with better situations is not to wallow in it and feel sorry for oneself.

Shakespeare finds relief and satisfaction in the love of God that he remembers and feels. God is the Friend the poet addresses. This love stimulates a man to be true to himself and to embrace Godly moral standards. The moral of the sonnet is that this practice as an expression of love of God brings true personal wealth -- ones integrity and self-esteem. 

The above understanding is highlighted in others of the sonnets, for example, Sonnet 123, in which the poet declares in the face of the arrogant ones that he "will be true," despight the condition of mortality that all face.  As the Bible states it, "those who seek The Lord are not in want of any good thing."

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