Summary: Hypocritical Judgement on Religion; is Love Just the New Religion

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Although love used to be an abstract emotion for humans, Shakespeare used his poetic language to redefine love- love is a new religion that is more liberal but can also improve the emotions of individual. He analyzed he suffered from great depression, feeling like the world has abandoned him, then he realized his beloved, and such love raised him up. Moreover, Shakespeare used unique values to reinforce the ideal love- a religion.

Shakespeare ironically criticized the god and religion but at the same time released his depression in a religious form. The problem the speaker proposed in the poem is that he felt like he is in an outcast state when he failed the expectations from the public. “And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries/And look upon myself and curse my fate”. God turned deaf ears to hear his “bootless cries” and the speaker is blaming him being useless. While noticing the irony here in the poem, it reinforced the idea of what religion should be, or what is the functionality of religious beliefs. Shakespeare used it as a tool to complain, while optimistic self is left to the beloved, which is also the solution to the problem. This can be seen from the Volta of the poem, a sudden twist in tone between line 8 and line 9- “Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising/Haply I think of thee, and then my state”. This is when the tone of the poem transferred from somber to cheerful, and it helps the youth to acknowledge how importance he is to Shakespeare- he can bring joy even in such bad situations and circumstances. Furthermore, Shakespeare took one step further to discuss the nature of love- a religion.

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Shakespeare used personal experiences and religious mourning to emphasize the truth of love- a religion that brings him joy. When Shakespeare states that his love to the beloved is the solution, it implies that love can achieve the same goals as religion. Religion is mostly used by people who have faith and goal to either improve their current status or to find joy from, but in this case scenario, love is what brought Shakespeare such feeling. For instance, he said that: “Like to the lark at break of day arising/from sullen earth”. Shakespeare used personification by giving “the lark[bird]” human traits like singing to show that happiness filled his heart; also used metaphor to use the lark to symbolize his soul. Moreover, it helps the speaker to liberate his soul and fight the unfortunate. It can also be seen when Shakespeare claimed his thoughts “despising”, how even himself hate those depression, and wanted to heal as soon as possible. It is love that helped him to feel that he has a value in life and a goal to pursue overall. The love to the beloved is a religion, but different from the past, love allows people to freely express their emotions than those more conservative and traditional religion which restrict people to do so. The love under Shakespeare’s illustration is one that be freely expressed in words, with emotions and with artful languages overall. It is not something that should be shamed about, but rather something that should be faithful and desirable.


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