Study Guide

Sonnet 133 Suffering

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

We know right off the bat that our speaker is in a boatload of emotional pain because he compares his suffering to a physical "wound," which gives us a pretty vivid image. Plus, he takes it a step further by suggesting that the love wound makes his heart "groan," as if his heart is a living, breathing person that's been injured. (That's called personification, by the way.) What's really interesting about these lines is that our speaker talks as if he and his "friend" share the exact same love "wound." How is that possible? If they've both been hurt by the mistress, shouldn't they each have their own separate wound? It's as if the speaker is saying something like "Hey, you've really hurt my friend here and since he and I are so close, his pain hurts me as well." (Check out more on this shared pain in "Themes: Friendship.")

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

Now we're really getting the sense that our speaker's pain and sense of being "torture[d]" comes from the fact that his buddy has been hurt by the mistress they share. He also seems to be accusing his mistress of getting her kicks out of hurting them.

Of him, myself, and thee, I am forsaken--
A torment thrice threefold thus to be crossed. (7-8)

This is where our speaker says that he feels abandoned ("forsaken") by three people: his friend, himself, and his mistress. He claims that it's a triple torture for him, which makes sense since there are three people involved in this little love triangle, right? But, we're not sure why he thinks that triple torment is multiplied by three. ("Thrice threefold" means 3 x 3, which, last time we checked, = 9). Let us know when you work that one out, Shmoopsters—we're totally stumped. But, regardless of our speaker's questionable math skills, we totally get his point. The dude is in a whole lot of emotional pain and it feels like it just keeps piling up—so much so that he seems to be making a weird reference to crucifixion. The term "Cross" means "to put a stop to." The speaker wants his triple torment to stop. But, a "cross" is also the name of the structure that people used to get nailed or tied to and then left to hang from until they died. In other words, our speaker feels like he's being tortured slowly and painfully, just like Christ. That makes our speaker a bit of a martyr, wouldn't you say?

Prison my heart in thy steel bosom's ward, (9-12)

Our speaker spends the entire third quatrain suggesting that he feels like he's been imprisoned in his mistress' heart (a.k.a. her cold "steel bosom"). That's pretty hardcore. It's also a pretty effective way for him to show just how powerless and helpless he feels in a relationship that he can't seem to get himself out of.

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

Here, our speaker just sort of gives up and comes to accept the fact that his mistress is never going to stop torturing him or his friend. That's because the speaker feels like he's "pent" (imprisoned) in her. Dang.

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