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Sonnet 137 Betrayal Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes
That they behold, and see not what they see? (1-2)

The speaker’s opening words reveal that he has already been betrayed before the poem begins. How can we tell? Think about it: if he knows that his eyes are tricking him, then he must know what the truth is. The knowledge that his lady-friend has betrayed him seems to have made him pretty angry and bewildered, as we can tell from the explosive rhythm of the opening words of the poem, as well as the somewhat confusing wordplay in line 2.

Quote #2

They know what beauty is, see where it lies,
Yet what the best is take the worst to be. (3-4)

Here, we can see again how angry the speaker is at the fact that his lady-friend has betrayed him. We can see this in the fact that he resorts to the literary device known as hyperbole, or exaggerating for effect. It seems unlikely that the speaker’s lady could really be the worst woman in the world, but the speaker is so angry that it feels that way to him.

Quote #3

If eyes, corrupt by over-partial looks,
Be anchored in the bay where all men ride […] (5-6)

We can see the speaker’s intense feelings of rejection and betrayal come out in a different form in these lines. Do you think the speaker would ever have spoken in such crude sexual terms about his lady while their relationship was been going well? We sure don’t think so. But the speaker’s anger makes him sexually disgusted with the lady, which comes out in a variety of obscene ways. Also, we see another instance of "hyperbole" (exaggerating for effect) in these lines. It just isn’t possible that the speaker’s lady-friend slept with "all men" in the world (at least, we hope not), but the speaker’s feelings of betrayal make it feel that way.

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