Sonnet 42

Sonnet 42 is a fantastic representation of “You never know what you have until you lost
it.” The worst pain is seeing the person you love with someone else, and that is exactly what Shakespeare was expressing in this sonnet. Sonnet 42, commonly known as one of the betrayal sonnets, explains how the fair youth steals away his mistress from him. In the first two line he writes, “That thou hast her, it is not all my grief, and yet it may be said that I loved her dearly” this could be referring to the fact that he had just lost the love of his life. In the next couple of lines, he writes how his love has been swept away by an important person in his life possibly a close friend. Which consequently makes his grieving far more painful than if he had lost his mistress to a man he did not know. The poet goes further to explain that when his mistress and his friend, or Fair Youth, decided to be together he lost both of them. “Both find each other, and I loose both twain..” this is an example of how he had lost both people to love. However, at the end of the poem the speaker pronounces that he and the Fair Youth are one. When looking further into that, you can guess that they are sharing the same women. Therefore, one could assume that his mistress is having an affair with the Fair Youth.

As mentioned above Sonnet 42 is apart of a group known as the betrayal sonnets. The
two other sonnets, Sonnet 40 and Sonnet 41, are like Sonnet 42 in a way. The narrator speaks about a lost love that was stolen from them, however; they are different in small ways. Sonnet 40 explains how he first realizes that his love has been stolen away by the Fair Youth. He accepts the situation and forgives his friend in line nine by saying, “I do forgive thy robb’ry, gental thief” even though he does not agree to be friends with him, in line 14, by calling him his foe. Sonnet 41 is directed toward the Fair Youth again, this time the speaker addresses the Fair Youths attractiveness and how young he his. The speaker explains that his mistress was tempted by his attractiveness but he will not be because he believes that his beauty is fake. It is somewhat obvious that in the time that these three sonnets were written, Shakespeare might have gone through a rough time with people involving his love life.

~Jada Pearson

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