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Shakespeare was superb at putting words together and has written
numerous sonnets over the years. Though 'sonnet 30' clearly stands out as its theme is presented in such a subtle and unique way. Therefore the question is: How does the poet express this leading idea?
To detect the leading idea in Shakespeare's sonnet, one should not solely read between the lines. One should in fact pay very close attention to its vocabulary, particularly to recurrent words such as 'grieve' , 'woe' (ll. 7) and 'moan' (ll. 8). If one is to combine them with other recurrent words such as 'friends' (ll. 6) and 'pay' (ll. 12), you will find that they will simply present part of the substantial theme. The unmistakable image these recurrent words create by placing them together in a meaningful unit is that of a speaker who ends up paying for having friends by grieving over them.
However, the theme is expanded and stretched by Shakespeare's profuse use of metaphors, one of them being 'hid in death's dateless night' (ll. 6). On the whole, this indicates the speaker's grief is inflicted by the death of these friends. Moreover, Shakespeare utilizes the technique of alliteration to effectively reinforce the speaker's loud display of grief: 'grieve at grievances' (ll. 9), 'woe to woe' (ll. 10), 'fore-bemoaned moan' (ll. 11) and 'pay as if not paid' (ll. 12).
The sonnet's division provides the theme with its final component. It is a Shakespearean sonnet, meaning it is composed of 3 quatrains and an ending couplet. The three quatrains give an account of a speaker who is not merely grieving, but, furthermore, cannot deal with the fact the grieving will not come to a stop: 'The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan / Which I new pay as if not paid before' (ll. 11-12). Nevertheless the ending couplet gives an unexpected twist to the sonnet. The speaker introduces yet another friend: 'But if the while I think on thee, dear friend / All losses are restored and sorrows end' (ll. 13-14). These lines make a somewhat indirect reference to the fact that the loss of a friend should not frighten one in not wanting to experience the joy of the possibility of a new friendship, as it is precisely such a companionship which can make one's sorrows come to an end. By means of this final couplet Shakespeare has at length revealed the entire theme.
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"Methods of Expressing Main Concepts in William Shakespeares Sonnet 30." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Aug 2018
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