Loves Entrapment: Sonnet CXXXIV

What one may find most interesting when reading Sonnet one hundred & thirty-four is the comparison of love to legal and financial metaphors. This is quiet interesting because Shakespeare used these legal & financial metaphors to make love seem unappealing because from his perspective love is that of nothing but negativity and one becomes trapped in it with no escape. This sonnet gives the impression that one is being tortured by love and that there is no freedom from this tumultuous love. For example,

“Myself I’ll forfeit, so that other mine
Thou wilt restore to be my comfort still:
But thou wilt not, nor he will not be free.”

The text from the sonnet itself above proves further more that one is caught in this entrapment of love and that no matter how much that one may give to this toxic relationship, there seems to be no light on the horizon. This excerpt and many more show that throughout the sonnet that there is no positive side of love or that it could ever are a magical experience. The only textual evidence one is given is that love is nothing but a toxic and almost slave-like binding contract with the author being the slave to love. Now, to further discuss the relationship of metaphorical phrases from legal and financial view to love, I want to discuss another excerpt from the sonnet:

“So now I have confessed that he is thine,
And I my self am mortgaged to thy will”

Personally, I find this aspect of the sonnet to be most interesting because I find it very innovative and it makes the author’s motifs and themes even clearer; that there is no positive side to love and that love is nothing but a blackmailed relationship between the character and the dark lady of love. This is very intriguing because it is such a simple yet genius way to put a concept that could have been ever so complicated into a laymen’s term. There are also many other examples such as:

“So him I lose through my unkind abuse.
Him have I lost; thou hast both him and me:
He pays the whole, and yet am I not free


            This is probably my personal favorite metaphorical context from this particular work because it gives the impression that he, the poet himself, forfeits himself to free the youth, but because of how toxic the relationship of love is, the dark lady of love will not seem to let the male go. The youth, being the one who has been given everything from the poet, pays the whole debt to free the poet, but this attempt runs dry also as the dark lady will still not free these individuals. The two are seamlessly trapped in a dark world where a dark lady who acts as what some may claim to be a vicious money lender and the character are forever in debt to repay her, but to one’s surprise there will never be an escape.


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