Explain the different themes in "Sonnet 29" and state the rhyming couplets and quadrants.

epollock | Student

The rhyme scheme of “Sonnet 29” is that of the usual Shakespearean sonnet, but the thought is organized more or less into an octave and a sestet, the transition being emphasized by the trochee at the beginning of line 9. The sense of energy is also communicated by the trochee that begins line 10 and yet another that introduces line 11, this last being especially important because by consonance and alliteration it communicates its own energy to the new image of joy (“Like to the lark”). As in most of Shakespeare’s sonnets, the couplet is more or less a summary of what has preceded, but not in the same order. Line 13 summarizes the third quatrain; line 14 looks back to (but now rejects) the earlier quatrains. Although the poem employs numerous figures of speech from the start (e.g., personification with “Fortune,” synecdoche with “eyes” in line 1, metonymy with “heaven” in line 3), line 11, with the image of the lark, introduces the poem’s first readily evident figure of speech, and it is also the most emphatic run-on line in the poem. Moreover, though heaven was “deaf” in line 3, in line 12 it presumably hears the lark singing “hymns at heaven’s gate.” “Sullen” in line 12 perhaps deserves some special comment too: (1) The earth is still somber in color, though the sky is bright, and (2) applied to human beings, it suggests the moody people who inhabit earth.

The speaker is depressed at the beginning; by line 9, however, he begins to change his mind, and by line 14, he would not “change his state with kings.”

Read the study guide:
Shakespeare's Sonnets

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