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I need a critical analysis of the poem "A Consolation" (Sonnet 29) by William Shakespeare. recommendation: This analysis includes the treatment of theme, poetic devices, figurative language, structure, etc.        

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The poem is designed as Shakespearean sonnet.  The 14 lines have a rhyme scheme of alternating rhyming lines until the couplet that rhymes with itself.   The surface meaning of the poem concerns a speaker who is presumably poor and not socially accepted. The story of the speaker becomes darker and more unfortunate in lines 3-9, where the speaker articulates a life of envying the wealth and social status of others, pleasing for a wider level of “scope” in society, and stating his own sense of self as one of “despising.”  A dark vision of existence is abruptly lifted and transformed in line 10 when the speaker states, “Haply I think on thee.”  This mere mention transforms the speaker’s state of mind as one where new day breaks (line 11) and from “sullen earth” the speaker is moved to “heaven’s gate” (line 12.)  The couplet concludes this journey from self hate to love of another and appreciation of one self in the face of dwindling materialism as the speaker...

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mwestwood, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Sonnet 29 is a 14-line stanza ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, 5' iambic pentameter. The first octave of 4 rhyming quatrains proclaims and intensifies the problem and the second sestet offers a resolution with 2 rhyming quatrains.  The sonnet ends with the usual rhyming couplet.

It is important to realise the nature of the language and wording of a sonnet in the era it was written.  "Fortune" for example in the Middle Ages was also feminine at the introduction of The Wheel of Fortune:-  “Fortune is painted blind, with a muffler afore her eyes, to signify to you that fortune is blind…..” Henry V (1599) . Fortune was both masculine in the form of a hero/victim of tragedy, and feminine in the form of comedy; a fickle woman, whore and such like, the latter as seen through the eyes of ‘young men'.  It is easy to assume that 'Love' is associated with the opposite sex in Shakespearean sonnets without understanding that male and female are not always separate persons but one duality of purpose in one unified consciousness.

Margaret Vaughan/ Oxford, UK