Shakespeare's Sonnets Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What are some literary devices in sonnet 152?

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The literary elements in Shakespeare's Sonnet 152 work together to establish a tone of outrage that effectively ends the relationship with the "dark woman," who is the subject of the preceding sonnets in this series.

First, the speaker leans not on language of love in this sonnet but on the formal language of law. On one hand, he tries to justify all the feelings he has held for this woman and all the ways he has tried to change her into the woman he desires her to be. Yet his efforts have fallen short; in fact, they have failed each other in this relationship. Thus, he is left weighing out the efforts versus the outcome, judging his own failings—and hers. The language is passionate on the side of this judgement, with the speaker noting that

But why of two oaths’ breach do I accuse thee,
When I break twenty? I am perjur’d most;
For all my vows are oaths but to misuse thee

While he realizes that she has broken oaths to him (a much more formal language than, say, "promises"), he has...

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