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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Will Shakes wasn't the first person to write a sonnet in English but he was most definitely the best, which is why this particular sonnet form is named after our guy. Pretty impressive, right? We c...

Speaker

Paging Dr. Shakespeare! We've got a lovesick patient on our hands, Shmoopers. Actually, lustsick is probably a better way to describe the speaker of Sonnet 147. The guy spends 12 out of 14 lines of...

Setting

Even though Shakespeare doesn't specify a physical setting for Sonnet 147, we can't help but imagine our speaker in a hospital room. After all, the guy kicks things off by comparing his sexual desi...

Sound Check

For thoughts on this poem's sound, head on over to our line-by-line summary.

What's Up With the Title?

When the first edition of SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS hit the presses in 1609, each sonnet was assigned a number (1-154) instead of its own. (Hey. Have you ever tried coming up with a bunch of title...

Calling Card

A big tip-off that you're reading one of Shakespeare's sonnets is the speaker's nasty attitude toward his mistress—it seems like the guy is always criticizing her "dark" features. We know from so...

Tough-o-Meter

We know sonnets can be intimidating but, the cool thing about this one is that Shakespeare starts with a single idea (that sexual desire is like an illness that leads to death) and lets his speaker...

Trivia

Shakespeare scholar Harold Bloom calls Sonnet 147 "the most terrifying erotic poem [he] know[s]." Oh yeah. He also says that most of his guy pals "share his lust" for the "dark lady." So there's th...

Steaminess Rating

Sonnet 147 is all about lust but it's not exactly a steamy read. Our "disease[d]" speaker pretty much sums up everything when he says "desire is death" (8). Gee. Why does he think that sexual desir...

Allusions

The phrase "desire is death" (8) might be a shout-out to the following Biblical passages: Romans 6:19-23, 8:6; Ephesians 2:1-3"Past cure, past care" (9)"Desire has no rest" (10)"As black as hell" (...
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