Subject Structuralism
Posted by WillaChen
Posted on Sun Mar 26 15:16:56 2000
From IP  

The Structure of the Changes of the Speaker's State and Self in Shakespeare's Sonnet 29
(14) king ?   turning point      (1) disgrace(13) sweet love                  (2) outcast state?(12) sing hymns                 (3) bootless cries(11) lark, arising               (4) curse my fate (10) think on thee         (5) wishing°Kmy state ć (6) featured°K (7) desired°K (8) what I most enjoy contented least(9) Yet, in these thoughts myself almost despising

In the speaker's contemplation, this poem shows the changes and search in his thoughts. There are three states in the speaker's search. In the first state ?, the speaker looks down on himself. In the second state ć, the speaker sits on the fence and looks on both sides. In the third state ?, the speaker elevates and identifies with himself, and his position raises higher than the kings.
In line 2, the subject "I" first appears and brings out the first state of the speaker, outcast and all alone. He is not satisfied with his own state. He feels like being in disgrace in other's eyes.
Then, on the right side of this picture, the speaker suffers from his own "disgrace." He grows this self-denial idea and rejects his own talents. The relationship between his "bootless cries" and "trouble deaf heaven" is ambiguous. We do not know either the heaven is deaf because his cries are bootless-not able to travel, or his cries are not able to reach anywhere because the heaven is deaf. Or it could be both. Thus, the speaker's trap is made up here. He delivers a message that nobody could receive, and this message can help him out of his outcast state. The speaker does not only live in a dilemma but also a trap that he sets for himself.
  From line 5 to 7, the subject of these sentences is omitted. The participial structure results in an absent subject in this sentence. The speaker's self-identification disappears from this state. What he wants to be and care are "this man's art and that man's scope."
  The speaker's biggest struggle appears first in line 8-"With what I most enjoy contented least." Two verbs in the middle contradict and confront each other. These two verbs are supposed to have the same positive meanings. But now they are in conflict because the adverbs, most and least, another two opposite words with contradictory meanings. The conflict sits nearly in the middle of the sentence, six syllables in front, and four in behind. The speaker does not yet move out from his sad feelings. Moreover, the subject of this line is omitted more completely. The only "I" is wrapped up as a subject in the clause, which is an object in the sentence. In other words, these thoughts and this I, both an object and subject, deep root in the speaker's mind.
  I find some binaries in the poem. (1:14, 2:13, 3:12, 4:11, 5+6+7:10, 8+9 as the turning point) Line 5,6,7 are combined together because they all lose the subject. In compare with line 10, a thought on "thee" fills in fully the empty state of the speaker.

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