An Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 71

Sonnet 71 by Shakespeare

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O! if, I say, you look upon this verse,
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;
But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.

ANALYSIS:

  • Iambic pentameter
  • Ironic how speaker wants to be forgotten or at least not mentioned, yet keeps bringing it up throughout the poem. Also ironic in the sense that he wants to be forgotten yet when you write something you’re leaving a trace and thereby becoming immortal. (Okay is that too much for you reader, yet???)
  • Also how in the first line he uses “dead” which is like an ending and such a final permanent type of thing yet its only the first line and it continues…
  • Rhyme is appropriately Shakespearean
  • Also a bit of contradiction since he describes it as the wise world in Line 13 and vile world in Line 4.
  • He refers to himself as me in line 1 but then in line 6 he just says he’s the hand that wrote it!!
  • Clearly he cares about the beloved reputation more than he cares about himself.
  • Shakespeare uses diction by choosing words that sound like mourning. The couplet is also pretty weird though because are we looking to the world, society to judge what/who we choose to love? Obviously during that time we do…
  • “Surly sullen bell” the alliteration of the S sound is obvious. –>
  • Obviously the tone of a funeral bell is sadness and invites mourning. Also surly sullen bell uses personification by giving humanly characteristics to an object.
  • I think Shakespeare also plays with a hyperbaton but it could just be his day and age. But basically makes it more difficult to understand by placing words not in an order we’d normally read them as.

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