Shakespeare Sonnet 138

1910 Words8 Pages
Justifying Mutual Deceit A common conception of William Shakespeare’s poetry entails complex language and hidden meanings. Shakespeare is famous for his ability to author a web of images that creates layers of interpretations and understandings. In Sonnet 138 however, Shakespeare is more direct in describing his relationship with his lover by avoiding imagery and metaphors, explaining to the reader that this seemingly unconventional relationship is indeed justified. Shakespeare constructs a persona of the speaker in a way that establishes a casual and conversational relationship with the reader. This allows for an open disclosure of the mutual hypocrisies between himself and his lover while leaving his steadfast candor to convince the…show more content…
Shakespeare makes sure the reader comprehends this different definition of love through straightforward and conversational language, simply stating that “…love’s best habit is in seeming trust” (11) and “in our faults by lies we flattered be” (14). Shakespeare’s speaker tells the reader everything they need to know about the relationship, including the mutual hypocrisies on the surface, and aptly explains the reasons for them so that the reader can understand this self-serving idea of comfort and love. Shakespeare is asserting that love is not set in stone, but fluctuates based on the differing needs of individuals and couples. Since both parties involved in this relationship are receiving what they desire, they form a perfect bond, and the reader accepts this bond because the speaker honestly and sincerely explains its functionality.
The mood of the speaker is also vital for the reader’s understanding of the poem. As the poem begins, the speaker seems to be defensive about his position in the relationship, making sure the reader knows that he understands that his lady is unfaithful, and when the speaker asserts that if he understands “false subtleties,” of course he can see through his lady’s lies. In the second quatrain, the
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