Sonnet 138 Analysis
In “When my love swears that she is made of truth,” William Shakespeare uses personification, pun, and tone to unmask the fear that the speaker feels towards his age.
The author personifies the speaker’s mentality as a woman to identify his uneasiness towards old age. The speaker’s mentality is referred to as woman because women are always self conscious of their age: “And wherefore say not I that I am old?” (line 10). The speaker can’t admit that he is old. That is why his mentality is referred to a woman that he loves. The “woman” keeps his way of thinking young. He doesn’t consider himself to be old, even though he knows it. Personification in the poem reflects the mentality that women and men feel when they get to a certain age. This helps one understand the author’s fear of getting old.
The pun in the poem helps address the true feelings that the speaker has for his age. The pun reflects how his mentality lies to himself, but also illustrates the speaker and his love being together: “Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,” (line 13). The speaker makes it seem that he is lying down with his lover, or in other words being intimate. But what he is really trying to say is that his mentality lies about his age and he believes it. One realizes that the author doesn’t want to face the reality that he is no longer young. His mentality, whom is describe as a woman, can be seen laying down with the speaker, but could also just be telling him false facts. The pun creates an opportunity for the audience to see the speaker’s private thought about what he really thinks about his age.
The speaker’s tone is mixed with both confidence and unconfident, which suggest the speaker’s attitude towards his age. As mentioned before the poet’s mentality is referred as a woman, but he creates her to make him feel good about himself: “When my love swears that she is made of truth/ I do believe her, though I know she lies,” (line 1-2). The speaker...
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