In this sonnet by William Shakespeare first published in 1609, the speaker’s extreme anguish concerning his “state” piques his audience’s curiosity, which is further heightened by the repetition of this word in lines 2, 10, and 14. Is he “outcast” because of his physical, mental, or emotional condition? his fortune or social rank? his rejection from a lover, or from society? his sexual orientation? It is tempting to read Shakespeare’s own life into “Sonnet 29” and consider his sometime unhappiness with his life in the theater, or his alleged bisexuality; but one must always bear in mind that the sonnets have never proven to be autobiographical. Though the cause of the speaker’s pain remains a mystery, his cure is revealed: his religious devotion to another mortal, not a higher being such as God, transports him to Edenic bliss.
Did this raise a question for you?