Study Guide

Sonnet 133 Sex

By William Shakespeare

Sex

Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
For that deep wound it gives my friend and me. (1-2)

When our speaker accuses his mistress of giving him and his buddy a "deep wound," he means a couple of different things. On the one hand, he means that she's hurt their feelings by being romantically involved with both of them at once. On the other hand, he's also punning on the word "wound" in order to make a crude joke. "Wound" is slang for "vagina," so he's saying that, when she gives him her "deep wound," it make makes him "groan" in ecstasy. Presumably, this is why our speaker is so tortured. He knows his mistress is a no good cheater, but he really likes hooking up with her and doesn't feel like he can stop. This is probably true for his friend, too.

Is't not enough to torture me alone,
But slave to slavery my sweet'st friend must be? (3-4)

Gee. Our speaker sure is dramatic when he accuses his mistress of torturing him and then running out and turning his BFF into her "slave." Now, the word "slave" can mean a few different things, but given the "deep wound" joke in the previous lines, it seems like our speaker is accusing his mistress of forcing his friend to perform a lot of physical or labor intensive acts. He may also be suggesting that his buddy is addicted (a "slave to slavery") to having sex with her.

And my next self thou harder hath engrossed. (6)

If you're thinking this line sounds a little dirty, you're definitely onto something. After our speaker accuses his mistress of having "taken" possession of him (5), he accuses her of having "engrossed" his buddy (a.k.a. his "next self") even "harder" (6). In other words, she's also taken our speaker's friend away from him and acts like she totally owns the dude. Of course, there's an erection joke happening here, too—"engross" can also mean to make something bigger or fatter so, it sounds like the mistress gives the friend a bigger manhood than she gives the speaker.

And yet thou wilt, for I, being pent in thee
Perforce am thine, and all that is in me. (13-14)

This is where the speaker says his mistress is never going to stop torturing him because he's "pent" inside of her. So, "pent in thee" literally means "imprisoned in you." On one level, he's continuing a metaphor from the previous four lines, where he said his heart is being held prisoner by his mistress. But here, our speaker is also making a pretty blatant reference to sex, or what it feels like to be physically and literally "pent" inside of her while they're getting busy. And, yeah, he's also comparing her vagina to a jail cell—the implication being that he is totally powerless (like a prisoner) when he's with her, especially as he climaxes and gives her "all that is in" him.

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