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Sonnet 147
Sonnet 147
by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 147 Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Shakespearean SonnetWill 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 imp...

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

Bashing the "Dark Lady"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" fe...

Tough-o-Meter

(5) Base camp 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) a...

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

RSonnet 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 desi...

Allusions

Biblical Shout-OutsThe phrase "desire is death" (8) might be a shout-out to the following Biblical passages: Romans 6:19-23, 8:6; Ephesians 2:1-3Shout-Outs to 16th- and 17th-Century Proverbs"Past c...

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