The word "state" occurs thrice in Shakespeare's "Sonnet 29." How does the meaning of this word change with each occurrence?

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In Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare, the narrator is going through a troubled time. He feels insecure, in disgrace, all alone, without friends, and envious of others. He almost despises himself. However, when he thinks about his beloved, his mood improves and he feels fortunate and privileged.

In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word "state" has numerous definitions. One is "mode or condition of being." Another is "condition of mind or temperament." A third is "social position." These are the meanings of the word "state" we need to look at as we analyze the word's use in Sonnet 29.

First of all, the poet weeps because of his "outcast state." In this context, the word "state" means "mode or condition of being." It could refer to the narrator being a social outcast for some reason, or it could even refer to a condition of unemployment. Some critics suggest that this sonnet may have been written during a period when London theaters were closed because of an outbreak of plague. Shakespeare...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1064 words.)

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