In the sonnet beginning "When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes," what is the  problem, resolution, and turning point?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Sonnet #29, the speaker complains that he is "in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes," that he feels like an outcast, and that he is full of envy towards other men who have various advantages over him. This recitation of his troubles takes up the first eight lines of the sonnet. The turning point comes at the ninth line, and the next four lines contain one of Shakespeare's most beautiful similes, the only simile in the poem.

Yet in these thoughts, myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee,--and then my state

(Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;

The concluding couplet, the fifteenth and sixteenth lines, contain the resolution. The speaker completely recovers from his mood of depression because he remembers that he has the love of the person to whom the sonnet is addressed.

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings,

That then I scorn  to change my state with kings.

No doubt Shakespeare is expressing his own feelings in this poem, as he does in most of his other sonnets.

Read the study guide:
Shakespeare's Sonnets

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