How might one interpret Shakespeare's Sonnet 57, "Being your slave, what should I do but tend"?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Shakespeare’s Sonnet 57 is written in the traditional Shakespearian sonnet form of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter, rhymed as three open quatrains followed by a couplet. It is written as a single extended metaphor in which the lover’s relation to the beloved is compared to a slave’s relationship to a master. Just as the slave’s job is to always be available for when he is commanded by the master, and thus should do nothing when not engaged on a specific commission, so too the lover is always available, with time not spent acting for or being with the beloved being empty.


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