Sound and Sense in Shakespeare

Sound and Sense in Shakespeare - Kyle Caputo Professor...

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Kyle Caputo Caputo 1 Professor Donoghue British Literature I 15 November 2007 Sound and Sense in Shakespeare’s Sonnet #30 Shakespeare’s Sonnet #30 expresses the powerful development of thought which transforms the mournful, moaning poet into a jubilant and satisfied lover at the culmination of the poem. While seemingly delving into “sweet silent thought,” Shakespeare ironically is captivated by his wailing and moaning which highlights the importance of auditory influences in the progress of his contemplation. Within Shakespeare’s Sonnet #30, the sonic features of the poem, including alliteration and assonance, interact with the semantic aspects of the poem to evince that only through the careful and deliberate repetition and analysis of past woes can one achieve a sense of present fulfillment and happiness. In ruminating over his past emotions the poet can further appreciate his present situation, and Shakespeare employs the lexicon of the court to accentuate his analytical technique. The judicial allusions and jargon of the poem emphasize the role of deliberate mental analysis and emotional cross-examination to effect some verdict of his present psychological state. Shakespeare voluntarily “summon[s] up” his remembrance to the “sessions of sweet silent thought” in order to examine and interview it for an answer to his old woes which newly wail his “dear time’s waste.” His vocabulary in the milieu of his quest through “things past” implies some debt brought on by memory which is looming over him in his mention of “expense,” “grievances,” and “pay.” However, upon thinking of his current “dear friend,” his “losses are restored” and the case comes to a close as his “sorrows end.” The rhyming of “sought” and “thought” establishes the primary action of seeking through thought for some solution to his anguish. The poet employs the methodology of the court system and initially presents the case at Page 1
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Caputo 2 hand to then present evidence which he interprets to beget a final decision. Shakespeare’s vocabulary in the first quatrain is abstract: he writes of “things past” and vague “old woes” which sets the generic topic of his meditation before he delves into them each to elucidate and clarify them for a sense of self-understanding. He next presents the evidence of his memory, citing his precious friends, love’s woe, and vanished sights only to progress in the third quatrain into an “account” of the actions the remembrance of these entities incite. Now the stoicism that made his tears “unused to flow” and made love’s woe “long-since canceled” is dissolved by the emotional storm he undergoes within his mind, to make him once again able to feel. This
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