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Sonnet 146
Sonnet 146
by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 146 Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Elizabethan Sonnet (a.k.a. Shakespearean Sonnet)Will Shakes wasn't the first person to write an Elizabethan Sonnet, but he was most definitely the best, which is why this particular sonnet form is...

Speaker

We've got to be honest with you, Shmoopers. The speaker of Sonnet 146 sounds more like a 16th-century preacher than the lusty poet we're used to hanging out with in the other 153 sonnets. Elsewhere...

Setting

We Might As Well Be Chilling With Hamlet in the GraveyardEven though the speaker addresses something nobody ever gets to see (his "soul" or, his immortal spirit), he uses a lot of images from the p...

What's Up With the Title?

Here's the deal. All 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets are assigned an individual number instead of a title. Sometimes they're referred to by their first lines so, #146 is often called "Poor soul, the c...

Calling Card

Recycling MetaphorsLook, Shmoopers. Shakespeare whipped up 154 sonnets in this cycle so, naturally, he's going to have a few go-to metaphors that he's not afraid to reuse every now and again.One of...

Tough-o-Meter

(5) Base CampWe're not going to lie to you. This seems like one of the tougher sonnets in Shakespeare's cycle and not just because it can be such a bummer to read about death. Sonnet 146 is chock f...

Trivia

The average life expectancy in Elizabethan England was about 40 years. Dang. No wonder the speaker of this sonnet is obsessed with death. (Source.)Shakespeare's son Hamnet died of an unknown illnes...

Steaminess Rating

GSonnet 146 isn't steamy at all. It's worried about bodily desires in general but doesn't specifically bring up the topic of sex. We can't say as much for the rest of Shakespeare's sonnets.

Allusions

Biblical Shout-OutsLine 1: Genesis 2:7 and 1 Corinthians 15:45-50Line 2: Matthew 6:28-29Lines 3-14: 1 Timothy 6:12-19Line 13: 1 Corinthians 15:54Line 14: (Judgment Day) 1 Corinthians 15:26; Isaiah...

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