Sonnet 66 by William Shakespeare is a poignant poem that reflects the poet’s weariness with the corruption and flaws of the world. Through vivid imagery and symbolic language, the sonnet critiques the misuse of power, the betrayal of trust, and the conflict between truth and perception. At its core, the poem explores the internal struggle between the desire for escape and the love that binds the speaker to life.
Sonnet no 66 by Shakespeare
Tir'd with all these, for restful death I cry, As, to behold desert a beggar born, And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity, And purest faith unhappily forsworn, And gilded honour shamefully misplac'd, And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted, And right perfection wrongfully disgrac'd, And strength by limping sway disabled, And art made tongue-tied by authority, And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill, And simple truth miscall'd simplicity, And captive good attending captain ill. Tir'd with all these, from these would I be gone, Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
Summary line by line
Sonnet 66 from William Shakespeare’s collection of sonnets. Here’s a line-by-line summary of Sonnet 66:
Line 1: Tired with all these, for restful death I cry.
Summary: The poet expresses his weariness with the world’s troubles and longs for a peaceful death.
Line 2: As to behold desert a beggar born,
Summary: The poet compares himself to a beggar born in a barren land, emphasizing his lowly and undeserving status.
Line 3: And needy nothing trimmed in jollity,
Summary: He describes himself as impoverished and lacking, yet trying to appear cheerful and festive.
Line 4: And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
Summary: The poet laments the betrayal of his once steadfast and honest faith.
Line 5: And gilded honour shamefully misplaced,
Summary: He speaks of honor that has been tarnished and wrongly bestowed upon unworthy individuals.
Line 6: And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
Summary: The poet laments how virtuous and innocent women are shamefully and forcefully turned into prostitutes.
Line 7: And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
Summary: He is frustrated with how true perfection is wrongly discredited or dismissed.
Line 8: And strength by limping sway disabled,
Summary: The poet refers to how strength and power are weakened and ineffective due to corrupt and inept rule.
Line 9: And art made tongue-tied by authority,
Summary: He speaks of how art and creativity are silenced and restrained by oppressive authority.
Line 10: And folly (doctor-like) controlling skill,
Summary: The poet criticizes how foolishness seems to dominate over true wisdom and expertise.
Line 11: And simple truth miscalled simplicity,
Summary: He laments how genuine truth is misunderstood or misrepresented as mere simplicity.
Line 12: And captive good attending captain ill:
Summary: The poet describes how virtue and goodness are held captive, serving under the rule of wicked and evil leaders.
Line 13: Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
Summary: The poet reiterates his weariness with the world’s troubles and desires to escape from them.
Line 14: Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
Summary: He expresses that the only thing holding him back from seeking death is the love he would leave behind, implying the presence of a loved one who keeps him attached to life.
Sonnet 66 reflects the poet’s disillusionment with the corrupt state of the world while acknowledging the love that still binds him to life. It is a powerful expression of his inner conflict between the desire for restful death and the love that tethers him to the world.
Summary line by line
Sonnet 66, like many of Shakespeare’s sonnets, explores the theme of mortality and the poet’s desire for release from the burdens of life. In this sonnet, the speaker is exhausted and worn out by the challenges and troubles of the world.
The sonnet begins with the line “Tir’d with all these, for restful death I cry,” expressing the speaker’s weariness and longing for a peaceful death. The “all these” likely refer to life’s various difficulties and struggles.
The poet compares himself to an old man who, after a long day of labor, longs for the night’s restful sleep. Similarly, the speaker yearns for the eternal rest that death could bring, hoping for an end to the constant turmoil of life.
In the second quatrain, the focus shifts to the things in the world that cause distress and make life burdensome. The “world’s shame” refers to the disgraceful and unjust actions that occur in society, deeply troubling the speaker.
The third quatrain delves into the internal turmoil the speaker experiences. The phrase “wrackful strife” suggests inner conflict and mental anguish. The speaker seems torn between the desire for life and the desire for death, battling conflicting emotions.
The final couplet concludes the sonnet with a resolution of the conflicting emotions. The speaker acknowledges that despite his longing for death, the love of someone dear to him keeps him alive. This love acts as a powerful force that overcomes his desire for release from life’s troubles.
In summary, Sonnet 66 conveys the poet’s weariness with life’s challenges and his yearning for restful death. However, the love of someone close to him prevents him from completely giving in to this desire, offering a glimmer of hope amidst his emotional turmoil.
Sonnet no 66 Critical Analyze
Sonnet 66 by William Shakespeare is a thought-provoking and poignant piece that delves into weariness, corruption, and the conflict between life and death. In this critical analysis, we’ll explore the key elements of the sonnet:
- The theme of Weariness: The sonnet begins with the speaker expressing profound exhaustion with the state of the world, as indicated by the repetition of the phrase “Tired with all these” in both the opening and closing lines. This weariness likely extends beyond personal troubles to encompass societal and political issues, suggesting a broader critique of the world’s flaws and imperfections.
- Symbolism and Imagery: Throughout the sonnet, Shakespeare employs vivid imagery and symbolic language to paint a vivid picture of the world’s corruption. He compares himself to a beggar born in a barren land, representing his lowly and undeserving status. The “gilded honour shamefully misplaced” suggests that superficial appearances often mislead and lead to unworthy individuals receiving praise and recognition.
- Betrayal and Loss of Faith: The poet laments the loss of faith and trust, describing it as “purest faith unhappily forsworn.” This line indicates that the speaker has experienced betrayal and deceit, leading to a loss of belief in the goodness of others. The portrayal of “maiden virtue rudely strumpeted” further emphasizes the theme of betrayal and the corruption of innocence.
- Critique of Authority and Power: Shakespeare criticizes the misuse of authority and power, where strength is rendered ineffective by “limping sway” and art is silenced by “authority.” This highlights the destructive influence of oppressive and misguided leadership, which stifles creativity and genuine expression.
- The conflict between Truth and Perception: The poet explores the tension between truth and perception, where “simple truth” is mistaken for mere “simplicity.” This line suggests that the truth is often undervalued or overlooked due to the influence of subjective judgments and biases.
- Captivity and Conflict: The image of “captive good attending captain ill” paints a stark contrast between virtuous qualities and the malevolence of those in power. This opposition illustrates the struggle between good and evil, with goodness being subjugated and held in servitude to wickedness.
- Desire for Death and Love’s Restraint: The central conflict of the sonnet lies in the speaker’s desire for death as an escape from the world’s troubles, juxtaposed with the love that keeps him tied to life. While the speaker longs for “restful death,” he ultimately decides against it because he doesn’t want to leave his loved one behind.
In conclusion, Sonnet 66 by William Shakespeare is a powerful reflection on the weariness and disillusionment with the corrupt state of the world. The poet criticizes the misuse of power, the betrayal of trust, and the conflict between truth and perception through rich imagery and symbolic language. The sonnet ultimately presents a complex internal struggle, where the desire for escape and death is tempered by the love that binds the speaker to life.
1. What is the central theme of Sonnet 66?
Ans. The central theme of Sonnet 66 is weariness and disillusionment with the state of the world. The poet expresses profound exhaustion with the corruption, misuse of power, and betrayal he observes around him.
2. What is the structure of Sonnet 66?
Ans. Sonnet 66 follows the traditional Shakespearean sonnet structure, consisting of 14 lines written in iambic pentameter. It is divided into three quatrains (four-line stanzas) followed by a concluding rhymed couplet (two-line stanza). The rhyme scheme is ABABCDCDEFEFGG.
3. What does the phrase “Tired with all these” in the first and last lines signify?
Ans. The repetition of the phrase “Tired with all these” at the beginning and end of the sonnet emphasizes the poet’s overwhelming weariness with the world’s troubles. It serves as a refrain that underscores the central theme of exhaustion and discontent.
4. How does Shakespeare criticize authority in the sonnet?
Ans. Shakespeare criticizes authority by highlighting the misuse of power and the weakness of leadership. He refers to “limping sway,” implying that those in power lack strength and effectiveness. Additionally, he suggests that “art” (representing creativity and expression) is silenced and restricted by oppressive authority.
5. What does the speaker in Sonnet 66 face the internal conflict?
Ans. The speaker faces an internal conflict between his desire for “restful death” as an escape from the troubles of the world and the love that holds him back from seeking death. The sonnet’s tension between these opposing desires forms a central emotional struggle.
6. Who is the speaker addressing in Sonnet 66?
Ans. The identity of the person being addressed in Sonnet 66 is not explicitly mentioned. The speaker may be addressing a general audience or expressing his thoughts introspectively without a specific addressee.
7. When was Sonnet 66 written and published?
Ans. Sonnet 66, along with the rest of Shakespeare’s sonnets, was published in 1609. The exact date of its composition is uncertain, but scholars believe that Shakespeare wrote most of his sonnets in the 1590s and early 1600s.
8. What is the significance of the concluding couplet in Sonnet 66?
Ans. The concluding couplet, “Tired with all these, from these would I be gone, / Save that, to die, I leave my love alone,” offers a resolution to the internal conflict presented in the sonnet. The speaker reveals that the only thing preventing him from seeking death is the love he would leave behind, highlighting the enduring power of love amidst the world’s weariness.