Through the use of ambiguous terms, i will attempt to convey the complexes of love in shakespear’s sonnet 57 and sidney’s sonnet 47. Through the words used by the writers in these two sonnets, we will be able to identify two different types of love that are there in our society even today. As human beings, love is everywhere in between us and each and every one of us has been affected by these emotions towards the opposite sex at some points in our lives. We will also see the importance of why love is intended to be between two people and not only one person in the relationship.

In Sir Phillip Sidney’s Sonnet 47, Astrophel who happens to be the male speaker in the sonnet starts by posing a set of questions about how and why he loves Stella. He questions himself on how he had let himself get enslaved to a woman, who does not have any He asks himself how he could have enslaved himself to a woman who does not have any consideration for the suffering he is giving to undergo. Astrophel's emotions can be read from the way he poses these questions. He seems to be angry and frustrated at the same time from the opening of the sonnet. It has now dawned on him that, he does not deserve to go through the kind of treatment he was receiving from his lover and that he can no longer continue being a slave in the relationship. He settles on the fact that he will not continue loving her any longer. To do this he first makes himself believe that beauty is just beauty that he will not love her anymore and convinces himself with the assertion that beauty is only beauty, it does not last forever and it is short-lived and only manifests on the surface rather than being deep within.  But even as Astrophel makes the decision to create some freedom for himself from this enslaving love, seeing Stella compels him to change his mind. At this point he realizes it is so hard to escape from the fact that he indeed loves her and he cannot escape from reality. He is lying to himself by claiming that he does not love her any longer.

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 57, brings to our attention the attitude of the master towards the speaker. The master is in all ways trying to misuse the love that the speaker has for him. This sonnet is an interpretation of what it is like for the speaker having to endure this relationship. Sonnet 57 contains numerous negative undertones. The speaker is not happy because of the situation the lover puts him in and seems to be complaining indirectly towards the failure to receive attention from his master.  It is also clear that the master is unfaithful but the speaker still holds on and chooses to ignore this fact.

Phillip Sidney’s Sonnet 47

The first line of the sonnet 47, Sir Phillip Sidney begins by brining to our attention about the existence of betrayal in the relationship between Astrophil and Stella. This view of betrayal is also reinforced as you come to the end of the sonnet through the use of the word lie. Thus the sonnet is meant to show just how Astrophil feels betrayed by Stella in their relationship.  But despite the betrayal, it appears to be a tale involving both love and betrayal. But this love is the one that betrays the speaker as he suggests in the first lines of the sonnet through engaging himself in a monologue. He says, “What, have I thus betray'd my liberty?”. It seems here like the speaker took this love that he had for Stella as a way for him to feel like his heart is liberated. It shows clearly that he might not have been enjoying his relationship. Through the next three lines, there is some aspect of slavery that is shown through the use of imagery. He says, “Can those black beams such burning marks engrave In my free side? or am I born a slave,  Whose neck becomes such yoke of tyranny?”.The speaker cannot still determine if he was indeed born a slave or did he ever have freedom at some point of his life. he questions in the closing line, if there is anyone who is able to manage the limits of love and the thresholds it brings on someone. Here, the imagery used is used to steer us from the slavery to the personal feelings of the speaker. The speaker does not know if he really wants to see the sense of the misery he happens to be going through.

The second stanza of the sonnet begins with the speaker questioning whether he should really show that he is not happy with his love. He says, “Or wants I sense to feel my misery?
Or sprite, disdain of such disdain to have, who for long faith, though daily help I crave, May get no alms but scorn of beggary?”  He’s wanted to have for a long time for her and how he is in misery without her. But even though he is in misery, he hates it that he has to keep begging her.

In the third stanza, the narrator tries to awaken his desires. The speaker says, “Let her go! Soft, but here she comes. Go to, Unkind, I love you not. Oh me, that eye Doth make my heart give to my tongue the lie.” He does not want to continue committing a wrong thing which in his case loves the wrong person. It is now clear to him that even though the lover is beautiful, he does not love her himself and thus he has to let go off that relationship.

William Shakespeare’ sonnet 57

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“Being your slave, what should I do but tend,” The writer lets us know that he is indeed aware that he is owned by his lover and at the same time he agrees to accomplish any requests that his lover has for him. He does not deny the fact that his sole purpose is to satisfy his master’s requests. “I’m yours; I’ll do nothing except what you need.”

“Upon the hours and times of your desire?” here the speaker shows that he is always ready to serve his master. By using the words ‘Hours and times’ it shows that despite whatever time it is he is there for him. This shows that the speaker does not mind how dynamic the time that the lover would require him is. He also says, “I may need you in short notice, or need you 1 month from now”.

“I have no precious time at all to spend,” the writer shows of his intention to spare all the time he has for the lover. He dedicates to spending his time to do things that he hopes will satisfy the lover. He already takes it that he should only use his time to do things that he hopes to benefit the lover. “I will only do tasks that will benefit you – nothing for myself”.

“Nor services to do, till you require.” The speaker here shows that he can only do things since he has been commanded to do so by his lover. Unless this happens he is not willing to do anything else. “I’ll only do something when asked – I will wait for your instruction”.

“Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour,” the writer here tells that he is ready to be patient on his lover. He also says that he can never complain about fulfilling his lover’s wishes. “I’ll be patient, and won’t complain that you haven’t asked me to do anything yet”.

“Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,” the writer here tells of how ready he is waiting to fulfill any instructions from his lover. “I’ll be ready and waiting for you when you need me”.

“Nor think the bitterness of absence sour,” the speaker shows that he is ignorant about the whereabouts of his lover. This is despite the fact that he knows that the lover is cheating on him.  “I will not think about what you are doing, even though I’m sure it’s bad”.

 “Nor dare I question with my jealous thought,” the speaker even though aware of the things that his lover is doing, he does not have the courage to question his lovers actions. “I know you’re up to something, but I’m not game enough to ask you about it”.

“Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,” here the speaker shows that he indeed knows where the lover is off to but he still will not question his whereabouts. He shows us that he indeed knows that his master is not faithful to their relationship. “I don’t know where you are, but your off cheating”.

“But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought,” The speaker tries to reassure to us that although sadness grips over him, he does not put his thoughts into what his master may be up to. “I’ll sit here and won’t think about anything”.

“Save, where you are how happy you make those.” The speaker says that he does not mind where the lover is but rather only thinks of how the people the lover is with are enjoying his company. “I’ll only think about the people you are making happy”.

“So true a fool is love that in your will,” the writer acknowledges that he is indeed foolish due to the immense love he feels for his lover. Here the writer is saying that he has fallen in love with his master, and that perhaps this is a foolish endeavor. “I’m in love with you, which makes me a fool”.

“Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.” The speaker reassures the lover that, no matter what happens he can never pass any judgment on the lover’s actions. This is because he claims that her love has blinded him. Here the writer is saying that his master can do whatever she wants, and he won’t judge her, because he is blinded by love. “Even if you do bad things, I won’t think any differently of you, because I love you”.


From the above sonnets it is clear that there are two kinds of love being portrayed by both sonnets. In Shakespeare’s sonnet 57, we encounter a kind of love where the speaker is being mistreated at the wishes of the master. This is a scenario that we would most likely encounter in our day to day lives. Where there is one individual who loves the other so much that they can even defend the wrong things they do against them but those that are loved cannot be able to reciprocate this love. In fact they continue taking the individual that is in love for granted and seem not to care about what their actions may be doing to their partners. In Sydney’s sonnet 47, the kind of love depicted here is that where by a person enters into a relationship based on lies. This is where someone surely knows that they do not have any emotional attachment whatsoever to their partners but they still lie that they are in love with the partners. This leads to dissatisfaction in the relationship since it is possible that you get fed up with your spouse. This unhappiness may also affect you as an individual since you cannot be able to appreciate anything about your partner. It is thus in order to be clear in identifying why you are getting into a relationship and if it is beneficial to both partners or just for one.

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