William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 128" suggests a rather playful and sensual approach to love, while an excerpt on love and marriage from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet has a didactic and intellectual tone. Shakespeare revels in lustful possession of his lover, but Gibran advises leaving space between partners in their relationship.
Well-endowed with imagery, Shakespeare's sonnet evokes the vision of a woman swaying back and forth playing a spinet, and the poet sitting back smiling and enjoying her movements, aroused by her music and charm. Master of double entendre, Shakespeare writes "Sonnet 128" as a sexual conceit. He compares her playing beautiful music on a "blessed" wooded instrument to her playing his blessed wooden instrument (phallic symbol). In fact, he sees the woman as his playtoy and object of possession for him to exploit for his own sexual enjoyment, misinterpreting his selfish lust as love.
The poem has an atmosphere of licentiousness, and Shakespeare employs many sexual puns and innuendoes to provide for this tone. His diction exhibits an earthy element: "playing music on blessed wood," "sweet fingers gently swaying," "wiry concord," "jacks nimbly leaping," "reaping a harvest," "wood's boldness," "change of state when tickled," "dancing chips," and "fingers walking with gentle gait." An interpretation of any of these preceding phrases could describe either his lover playing a spinet or performing a sexual act with consequent gratification. "Change of state when tickled" indicates the achievement of an erection. "Reaping a harvest" represents his sexual climax and ejaculation. "Wiry concord" makes reference to another poem in ...
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Colum, Padraic. "Commonplaces from the Arabic." Saturday Review. 20 May 1950: p. 21.
Otto, Annie Salem. The Parables of Kahlil Gibran: An Interpretation of His Writings and His Art.
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