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Sonnet 134: So, now I have confessed that he is thine

William Shakespeare

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Sonnet 134: Exegesis
Added by: Chris Diamanti
This is not a love poem; it's an intentionally abstruse, cryptic depiction, using legal metaphors, of the relationship between the real author and his front man, Will Shaksper. The 'he' in the first line is the literary identity of William Shakespeare; the 'thine' is Shaksper. The author has confessed that Shaksper is the author of the Shakespeare plays; thus the author's mortgaged, as a house is to a bank, Shaksper being the bank, who lent his name, 'will,' and his person as a front. The author willingly gives up his literary identity, forfeiting credit for his work, 'so that other mine,' with a pun on the mine which is a resource of wealth, will yield him the consolation of enduring in the works themselves. With 'But though wilt not,' the author puns on the wilting of a flower, meaning that Shaksper does not shy in shame FROM his unearned place of celebrity; and as a result, the literary name of William Shakespeare will not be freed FROM association with Shaksper. The reason Shaksper won't 'wilt' is that he's greedy for fame, and the reason that the Shakespeare name will not be freed is that it's founded on generosity. And here is introduced the conceit of the Shakespeare name as a bondsman who posts bail for the defendant, the real author, who did not SHOW up for court, who did not take credit for his writings. The bondsman is bound to pay now that the defendant defaulted. What Shaksper, represented by the court in this extended metaphor, claims for payment, is the beauty in the author's work. The author terms Shaksper a usurer, that putt'st forth all to use,' emphasizing that he has no reservations about taking credit, and even abuses the privilege of standing in for the author, who could not reveal his identity. The author has lost the name of William Shakespeare to Shaksper, who now possesses both literary fame and the soul of the author. Though all the glory of the name goes to Shaksper, the author is bound to continue to write.

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