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Here's two of my friends! I was having a rough day a few days ago and feeling a lot like the speaker at the beginning of the poem, but then I remembered that they love me, and everything was okay.
Sonnet 29 is about a man who is in despair and feels worthless, but then remembers the woman he loves and realizes that his life isn't the worst after all.
In this formal article by Ernest Sutherland Bates in the Modern Philology Volume 8 publication, the author is comparing Petrarchan sonnets to Shakespearean sonnets. He is writing about how in non-Shakespearean sonnets, the source of all unhappiness is the loss of love. However, Shakespeare rejects this understanding and points out the different sources of unhappiness, including low self esteem, poor social status, and lack of talent. Shakespeare then uses the presence of love as the ultimate happiness.
I looked at the No Fear Shakespeare summary of Sonnet 29, and I found it rather amusing. The summary really emphasizes the distress of the speaker, taking an approach of low self esteem rather than just misfortune. I also found it interesting how they interpret the speaker's tone as stumbling upon the thought of his love, rather than having it as a prominent place in his mind.
I found a video of Patrick Stewart reciting Sonnet 29, and it was really interesting to hear someone trained in the art of performing Shakespeare reciting it. Maybe it's just his voice, maybe it's Shakespeare, but the sonnet sounded so rice and full. The meter became a lot clearer and it flowed really well.
In discussing Sonnet 29 with my friends, they looked at it from an angle I hadn't taken before. Instead of diving deep or getting too analytical, they talked about how they liked the optimism at the end of the poem. The author is upset and feeling down on himself, but then he realizes that there is something good in his life, and that's his love. Similarly, they look to their loved ones when they get down on themselves, and it gives them a reason to keep going.