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Sonnet 137

Sonnet 137

Revenge Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

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

The same goes for this quotation as for the last one. The speaker’s hardcore insults against the lady definitely make it seem like writing this poem is an act of revenge.

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 hits the lady up with a slightly more subtle insult, but one likely to sting, nonetheless. Instead of calling the lady’s face "false" (in its old-fashioned meaning of "unfaithful")—the word we would expected as the opposite of "truth" (in its old-fashioned meaning of "loyalty")—he calls her "foul." That’s right, the speaker is saying, "You’re such a jerk, I’m not even going to use symmetrical phrasing to insult you. Booyah!"

Quote #6

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

These lines round off the poem. Do they make it sound like the speaker succeeded in getting his revenge? Well, the insult contained in the phrase "false plague" is definitely a doozy. First of all, the word "plague" might be a reference to the STDs the speaker’s lady-friend has picked up through her "false[ness]," or infidelity. At the same time, critic Helen Vendler suggests that the word "plague" might be playing off the word’s Latin root meaning of plaga, meaning "wound," and suggesting the female genitalia. If you put these two ideas together, you get some sense of the sexual insult the speaker is getting at. That said, the speaker also tells us that his "heart and eyes" are now "transferred" to his mistress. The word "transferred" in this line is being used in a legal sense meaning to "transfer" ownership from one person to another. So, basically, the speaker is saying that his lady "owns" his eyes and heart. This suggests that she still has him in her almost godlike control—meaning his revenge isn’t likely to be successful. (Heck, he might even end up wanting to patch things up with her.) Thus, it looks like neither of the poet’s possible avenues of revenge were successful. He can’t do anything to love, and his mistress still ends up in control of him at the poem’s end.

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