What is the theme and structure of Shakespeare's Sonnet 29?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Theme and Structure

Theme

The theme of Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 involves how man's life may differ depending on whether his life is full of material wealth vs. spiritual wealth, or spiritual wealth vs. material wealth. 

Structure

Shakespeare's sonnets consist of 3 quatrains (4 lines each) -12 lines total, followed by 1 couplet (2 lines) - 14 lines total. 

If you look at most of his Sonnets, youll notice that Shakespeare usually starts out with a problem in the first quatrain, and throughout the 2nd and 3rd quatrain, he builds on that problem, until an almost climatic point. Then, in the couplet, he provides the answer, or solution to the problem. 

Breaking it down:

Quatrain 1:

“When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state, 
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,”

Line 1: fortune = wealth, disgrace = negative view/judgement

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 983 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on