Metaphor in Sonnet 129

Metaphor Examples in Sonnet 129:

Sonnet 129 3

"swallowed bait ..."   (Sonnet 129)

The hunting metaphor in line 6 is picked up again in loose form in this line. The lustful speaker, once the hunter, now portrays himself as a caught fish who has “swallowed [the] bait.” To borrow an old adage, the hunter has become the hunted.

"hunted..."   (Sonnet 129)

The metaphor of amorous pursuit as a hunt is an old poetic conceit that Shakespeare repurposes here. In older sonnets such as Thomas Wyatt’s “Whoso List to Hunt,” the love object is depicted as a deer that the speaker tracks down. In Sonnet 129, the aristocratic elegance of the hunt is gone, replaced by a shameful hunt “past reason.”

"bloody..."   (Sonnet 129)

As the scholar Stephen Booth points out, “bloody” works as a pun here. Figuratively, it connotes violence and lack of reason. Literally, it refers to the speaker’s erection.