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Themes in Sonnet 29
Themes Examples in Sonnet 29:
"my state..." See in text (Sonnet 29)
The repetition of “state” suggests that the poem ends where it begins: the speaker is still obsessing over his material wealth and social rank in the physical world. Though he claims in line 11 that his state is no longer bound to the physical world, he still measures his life in terms of his relationship to his “state” or political/social position. This undermines his claim that his love saved him from caring about his position.
"bootless ..." See in text (Sonnet 29)
“Bootless” means hopeless or useless. It invokes connotations of poverty and a lack of material possessions. In characterizing his “cries” to heaven as “bootless,” the speaker suggests that his cries go unheard because they are poor, impoverished, or lacking. This claim is slightly ironic, however, as the Christian tradition believes that a lack of material wealth makes a person more pious and close to God. Despite the spiritual backdrop of poverty equating to piety, the speaker’s lack of material or social wealth does not afford him any religious salvation. As will become clear later in the poem, he sees the love object as redemptive.
"enjoy..." See in text (Sonnet 29)
“Enjoy” means both to take delight in and to possess. After listing all of the things that he does not have, the speaker’s only possession, poetry, does not resolve his anguish. This line contradicts the previous poems in which the speaker claimed that his poetry could redeem and give eternal life to the youth. Here, the speaker claims that poetry actually offers no answers to his worries and illustrates his all consuming despair.