Sonnet 147 Commentary

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In sonnet 147 love is presented as a sickness that is controlling the speaker and making him or her long for the chance to experience the feeling of love. The speaker in this sonnet otherwise known as the author William Shakespeare is completely infatuated with the idea of love that his heart has become love sick and his “love is as a fever, longing still” (1). He describes his love “as a fever” (1), with one whose only desire is to “preserve the ill” (3). Shakespeare expresses the theme of love as having the ability to do great harm and even drive someone to insanity while enslaving him or her under its power. As the sonnet begins the speaker has already met love, when he sees that his reason, the “physician to [his] love” (5) “hath left [him]” (7) when he picks love instead. The speaker at first sees himself “longing” (1) for a cure to his lovesickness either by perfecting the love or destroying it altogether. However, soon the speaker is “angry” (6), that he cannot give up on love and realizes its power just then. Shakespeare uses personification, repetition of certain sounds and a rhyme scheme to illustrate that love is powerful. First off Shakespeare personifies love and reason in this sonnet, as two different forces, to develop the theme to the negative side of love. He describes love as an “uncertain sickly appetite” (4), depicting the fact that in this case at least, love has fickle, twisted thoughts and plans. Conversely, his logic, “the physician to [his] love” (5) seeks only to help him. However, the speaker decides to put his faith in love, perhaps hoping that, as illogical as it is, reason would not help him. He ignores that which tries to help him as he abandons reason, which leaves him for the love that he likely thinks at the time is “fair” (13) and “bright” (13), though he soon realizes that that is not at all the case. Shakespeare develops his
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