Shakespeare's Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's Sonnets book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How might one interpret Shakespeare's Sonnet 145, "Those lips that Love's own hand did make"?

Expert Answers info

Jay Gilbert, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer

bookB.A. from University of Oxford

bookM.A. from University of Oxford

bookPh.D. from University of Leicester

calendarEducator since 2017

write2,168 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

"Sonnet 145" falls within the "Dark Lady" cycle of Shakespeare's sonnets, and describes the moment of panic experienced by the speaker when he hears "the lips that Love's own hand did make" form the words "I hate." The beloved, clearly, has a good understanding of her lover, who "languish'd for her sake;" noticing the "woeful state" in which he languishes, "straight in her heart did mercy come."

The scene is vividly drawn: the beloved begins her sentence, "I hate," and then becomes immediately aware of the anguish on her lover's face, correctly interpreting this as a fear that her sentence will end, "you." Instead, the beloved "chides" her "ever sweet" tongue, such that instead of dispensing the feared "gentle doom," it is "taught thus anew to greet."

The reader feels the relief at the same time as the poet when he explains, "'I hate' she alter'd with an end / That follow'd it as gentle day / Doth follow night." The sentence becomes something quite different in meaning...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 528 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial