Sonnet 129

Israel Munoz
English 200B
Professor Taufer
Final Draft
An Explication of Shakespeare Sonnet 129
1 Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action, and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
5 Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had,
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so,
10 Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
   All this the world well knows, yet none knows well
   To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129 illustrates “lust” as the false dream that directs the attention to a lover who describes his moment of “lust” as a shame because of the observations on how you act. The poem could be seen as an example that critiques the different stages one has in times of “lust”. The sonnet begins with an economic metaphor to show that “lust” is a system of exchange and to spend one’s “spirit” for “lust” is a waste of time. The sonnet’s quatrains first half reflects the exchange of “spirit” and “shame” and uses an antimetabole to show the changing moments one has in “lust” is also emphasized with the constant pauses as you read it to show the altering stages in line 2 where the lover describes, “lust in action, and till action…” The sonnet continues to refer to the falicies of “lust” in line 3 as, “lovers are liars, murd’rous, guilty, nor can act rational” in moments of “lust” as an obvious factor to human flaws. The lover illustrates that the act of “lust” or sex is “murd’rous” because it kills a person’s spirit in both senses spiritually and literally wasting you little men. It continues with comparing lust as a bloody action because of the blood in the physical process of sex could have you act and think as line 4 states as,...