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Sonnet 36: Let me confess that we two must be twain

William Shakespeare

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Sonnet 36: Exegesis
2002-12-08
Added by: Chris Diamanti
The author effectively uses as a decoy the courtly love convention. This obvious meaning, by being palatable and readily desired by most readers, camouflages the second meaning, allowing the author to express feelings which he could not otherwise do.

In the first and second lines the author addresses directly his pseudonymous literary identity, William Shakespeare. In the third and fourth, he states that the faults of his non-Shakespeare persona are dis-associated FROM the Shakespeare name, and that the merits of the latter cannot aid the reputation of the former. In lines five through eight, he regrets the split, and in lines nine through twelve, he explains why he cannot claim the other as his own, because it would 'do thee shame,' and why the works cannot be publicly known to be the author's, because it would diminish the honour of the Shakespeare name. In the last two lines the author concludes by asserting that his love for the works themselves relieves him of any desire for personal renown.

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