Alienation and Loneliness
Added to the misfortunes that the speaker of this poem faces is also the pain of knowing that he is facing his trials alone. Society tends to distance itself from sufferers; as the old adage puts it, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone.” “Sonnet 29” starts by briefly identifying the source of the problem as “disgrace with Fortune” before settling in to examine the social ramifications of bad luck and the alienation that it causes. The remainder of the first stanza concerns itself with the speaker’s feeling of isolation, a feeling that forces him to withdraw into himself, mostly in anger: he weeps, cries to heaven, and curses fate. The speaker is alone, or so he says, because everyone else thinks badly of him. The next stanza, though, brings up the opposite side of the equation: it is the speaker’s own dark thoughts that are forcing him to distance himself from others. He is jealous, listing the things that others have that he wishes were his own. By its placement in this poem, following the first mention of his isolation, there is a strong suggestion that it is the jealousy he feels, not his bad luck alone, that is at the root of his isolation. The second stanza is presented as an explanation for the speaker’s loneliness, while no such explanation is offered for his bad fortune. The list of things that he envies of others progresses from the shallow to the more serious. He...
(The entire section is 1048 words.)
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