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Sonnet 137 Betrayal Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #4

Why should my heart think that a several plot
Which my heart knows the wide world’s common place? (9-10)

We could say pretty much the exact same thing about these lines as we did about the previous two. Here, once again, the speaker’s anger and sexual disgust at the lady makes him speak about her in insulting, obscene terms. These lines also feature hyperbole. It really isn’t possible that the speaker’s lady-friend made herself sexually available to the whole "wide world," but the speaker’s feelings of betrayal make it feel that way.

Quote #5

Or mine eyes, seeing this, say this is not,
To put fair truth upon so foul a face? (11-12)

In these lines, the speaker’s feelings of disgust at being betrayed are communicated in a more subtle way than the ones we have just looked at. Instead of calling the lady’s face "false" (in its old-fashioned meaning of "unfaithful")—the word we would expect as the opposite of "truth" (in its old-fashioned meaning of "loyalty")—he calls her "foul." Thus, the speaker shows that is willing to break the symmetrical structures of elegant rhetoric just to show how cheesed off he is.

Quote #6

In things right true my heart and eyes have erred,
And to this false plague are they now transferred. (13-14)

The speaker’s kiss-off lines combine the subtlety of the techniques we just looked at with the brash obscenity of some of the ones we looked at earlier. As we explain in our "Detailed Summary" section, Professor Helen Vendler of Harvard University thinks the word "plague" here might contain a hidden reference to the lady’s genitalia. If you put this together with the idea of STDs—which the word "plague" also brings to mind—you start to get the picture of how angry and disgusted the speaker really is at being betrayed.

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