The poem “Sonnet 29” was written by William Shakespeare in 1609, and then “From Amoretti-Sonnet 75” was written by Edmund Spenser in 1595. In this essay, I interpret how Shakespeare and Spenser illustrate the meaning of love from “Sonnet 29” and “From Amoretti-Sonnet 75” that can affect someone to survive in life. I will highlight the imagery and use of the literary devices in each quatrain in the poem.
During the Elizabethan era, literary works experience rapid development and progress more than the previous period, this proves by the birth of various types of literary works including poetry. Literary works at this time have a romantic love genre, which is more in line with the conscience and still influences by the works of Classical Greek and Italian (Safitri, 2019). William Shakespeare and Edmund Spenser are among the most famous poets of the Elizabethan Era. Shakespeare in ‘Sonnet 29’ highlights love as a source of happiness, perhaps want to express his life experience as an adolescent who is not as perfect as other people, but he can still survive because of the person he loved at that time. On the contrary, Spenser in “From Amoretti-Sonnet 75” also highlights his love experience with his beloved, I believe that Spenser wrote this poem to commemorate and perpetuate their love story when death later separates them. In brief, these two poems prove the reason why in the Elizabethan era the genre of literary works is more dominant romantic love because the poets are at a young age which is identical to the love life, and then they mostly convey their mind through literary works.
In the opening quatrain of “Sonnet 29” portrays the conflict of the speaker faced. The first line, the author uses the word “when” to begin this poem, it is possible the story implicit in this poem based on emotions experienced by the author. The use of personification “in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes” in this line have meaning that the speaker mourns his bad luck situation. He feels alone because no people who pay attention to his existence in this life. This statement is supported by the next line in the word “outcast state” which shows the reason why people do not pay attention because no one likes him, even he seems to be expelled of his living environment. I argue that this man lives like someone who wanders somewhere, his unclear purpose in life makes him look very frustration. Personify also uses in the third line, specifically the word ‘deaf heaven’, this uses to emphasize the emotion of the speaker who has always lamented his fate with prayers and cries that he conveyed to God. And the word “deaf” here perhaps want to explain the intention of the speaker that the prayers did not materialize and it is possible that God did not listen to his prayers, then this situation makes him so hopeless. In the seventh line or second quatrain “Featured like him, like him with friends possessed” the author compares the speaker’s self to others. However, the comparison of the use of the word “him” here is not clear whether he is one person or two different people, which is the point that I can say from using contrast here refers to the speaker’s jealousy in the lives of others. He wants his life to be successful like other people, besides that he wants someone else to accept him in this life. In the ninth line, there is a change in the mood of the speaker, he starts talking about somebody whom he loves. The use of similes in the eleventh line “Like to the lark” portrays the speaker’s feeling changes from miserable to joy and hope when together with his lover. The misery he experienced seemed to disappear, the speaker looks like a bird that flew freely in the sky when he remembered the figure of the person he loved. Moreover, the use of imagery “heaven’s gate” highlights in the next line, I believe that the author uses the imagery in this line to make the readers imagine about serenity, deity, beauty, and happiness. Then, we as readers can understand that his lover is very beautiful looking like an angel from heaven so that it can evoke the speaker to withstand in life. This statement is completed in the couplet part of this poem, the speaker will not change positions with the king because he considers his lover an incomparable wealth. Based on the statement of the speaker, I think that the speaker loves his beloved very much. Even though his life is very hard, but he can still live because of his lover.
In the second poem “From Amoretti-Sonnet 75”, the author uses the narrative “One day” in the opening quatrain of the poem. It might be that the contents of this poem are directly related to the author, and perhaps the writer also wants the readers to not only read this poem as entertainment but there are lessons to be taken from the readers. The use of imagery highlights at the first and second lines in the word “strand” and “waves”. These words conduct the reader to think the background of the story in the poem is on the beach. Here the speaker tells his experience when he wrote the name of his lover on a stretch of sand, perhaps want to show his love for his lover. I also highlight the use of alliteration “waves and washed” in the second line. The author may want to evoke the reader to feel the sound of the waves. The writings made by the speaker were always erased by the waves, implied here for the reader that everything that belongs to us will be lost with time. In the second quatrain, there is a dialogue of a woman in the sentence ““Vayne man,” sayd she” as an expression of the woman towards the act by the speaker writing her name on the sand is useless because this woman feels that her life will disappear like that writing. I argue that the use of dialogue in this line to indicate the speaker is not alone but with another person namely his lover so that the readers can feel this poem more live and witness the speaker’s story directly. In the third quatrain, the author also uses the dialogue in his poem in ninth line ““Not So,” quod I;”. I feel the use of this dialogue refers to the answer from the speaker to emphasize that he disagrees with the statement of his lover. He argues that if physically they might separate, but the speaker has a way to capture their memories, that is his poetry. In the last line of the poem, I highlight the use of alliteration in the words “love”, “live”, “later”, and “life”. I define that the continued use of alliteration means that the speaker ‘s poem for his lover will still live and eternal through the readers, even though they are gone. In brief, their love will remain alive and can be felt by the readers.
- Canvas (2019). Early Modern Poetry – Selected Works. Retrieved 15 September 2019, from https://ubd.instructure.com/courses/390/files/folder/Poetry%20Collections?preview=248103
- Safitri, R. N. (2019). History of English Literature ‘Periode Elizabeth’. Retrieved 17 September 2019, from https://issuu.com/rinanurjanisafitri/docs/d_16320046_rina_nurjani_safitri_