Shakespeare Sonnet 30 Analysis Essays

Sonnet 30 Essay

“But the while I think on thee (dear friend) all losses are restored, and sorrows end” (lines 15-16). This is an excerpt from the master himself, William Shakespeare, in “Sonnet 30” also known as “When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought”. As with all of his works, this sonnet requires a lot of interpretation due to the Old English to be able to understand anything in it. “Sonnet 30” is written in iambic pentameter with a rhyme scheme of “abab/cdcd/efef/gg”. The sonnet is a lyrical poem because it is uses first person, which signifies that there is a signal speaker. The meaning itself is simple; though after a good bit of decrypting; the speaker is looking back is recollecting all the things that have happened to him or her, but more specifically looks at things that weren’t good and remembers how things “piled” up more and more which brought great sorrow. However, in the last two lines of the verse, Shakespeare pulls out his classic trump car with a positive ending where the speaker describes how thinking of someone dear brings great joy over the sorrow they felt. Overall, the sonnet is gentle, passive, and even somber to an extent. A variety of poetic devices especially alliteration and metaphors are used to heavily convey a theme of love lost and found relying on a mood similar to that of the speaker, grieving in sorrowful recollection yet feeling joy for the future.
The title is where it all begins, “When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought”, the title itself sets the mood in which the reader can almost feel as if they are being taken back into their own thoughts and memories. This single line helps set the rest of the sonnet up, line one derives from the title by starting again with the line “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought”, but can it really be said that that is the title an first line. Not truly, for the first line is actually the title to this poem seeing as this poem is known as “Sonnet 30” and “When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought”; either way the first line also sets a beginning mood ripe for remembrance. Alliteration is present here with the repetition of the consonant sound “S” in “sessions” “sweet” “silent”. In addition, this line shows the use of court or legal jargon with “sessions” which refers to the sitting of a court and “silent thought” is an almost literal translation of just thinking within your own head or remembering the past.
The remainder of the first quatrain sets up an entire scene of how and what causes the speaker to start to recollect. “I summon up remembrance of things past” (2) quite simply means in modern English, “I remember the things that happened in the past”. Nothing is note-worthy here except it continues to draw out the mood’s focal point. In line three, the mood starts to gain significance when the speaker turns and talks about lamenting for failing to achieve all they had ever wanted in life. This immediately switches the neutral mood into one that is more bitterly...

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This sonnet is an “English,” or “Shakespearean” sonnet—that is, it is composed of three quatrains and a couplet of iambic pentameter, rhymed abab, cdcd, efef, gg. What is different about the structure of this sonnet is that there is far less development from quatrain to quatrain than is usual for the overall collection. Shakespeare most often develops his sonnets by moving his argument in three quite distinct steps to its concluding couplet, or by developing three quite different images to be tied neatly together in the closing lines. This sonnet, however, has far more repetition than differentiation from quatrain to quatrain. The differences are subtle: The quatrains quietly move from wailing to weeping to grieving, a progression that is hardly noticed.

What makes this one of Shakespeare’s most loved sonnets is not its structure but its music, achieved in part through the rhymes, but even more distinctively through the repetition of consonant sounds. In the first quatrain of the sonnet there are no less than twelve sibilant sounds, which, rather than hissing, evoke the music of the wind. The sound is repeated in the last line of the sonnet, surely an intended recapitulation to increase the feeling of completion. The fourth line of the poem introduces a series of alliterated w sounds: “And with old woes new wail my dear Time’s waste.” These sounds introduce the rhythm of wailing, which is repeated in line 7, “And weep afresh love’swoe,” and again in line 10, “from woe to woe.” Repeated liquid sounds in line 7 add a languid sound to the line—“love’s long since canceled woe”—and repeated m’s add both softness and length to lines 8 and 11: “And moan th’ expense of many,” and “fore-bemoaned moan.” A lengthening of sound...

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