Sonnet 70: That Thou Art Blamed Shall Not Be Thy Defect
That thou art blamed shall not be thy defect,
For slander’s mark was ever yet the fair;
The ornament of beauty is suspect,
A crow that flies in heaven’s sweetest air.
So thou be good, slander doth but approve
Thy worth the greater, being woo’d of time;
For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love,
And thou present’st a pure unstained prime.
Thou hast pass’d by the ambush of young days,
Either not assail’d or victor being charged;
Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise,
To tie up envy evermore enlarged:
If some suspect of ill mask’d not thy show,
Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts shouldst owe.
Summary of Sonnet 70
- Popularity of “Sonnet 70”: Written by William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 70: That Thou Art Blamed Shall Not Be Thy Defect” is stated to have been published back in 1609 as part of a collection of 154 sonnets. Despite being one of the lesser-known sonnets in this connection, it has gained popularity for its message about the nature of criticism and how one should not take it personally. Shakespeare suggests that the best way to deal with criticism is to rise above it and maintain one’s own sense of self-worth and confidence. In fact, “Sonnet 70” is a timeless reminder of the importance of self-assurance in the face of criticism.
- “Sonnet 70” As a Representative of Criticism: “Sonnet 70: That Thou Art Blamed Shall Not Be Thy Defect” by William Shakespeare is a representative example of the themes of self-worth and criticism found throughout his sonnet sequence. The main idea of the sonnet is that one should not take personal blame or criticism to heart, but rather maintain a strong sense of self-worth. This message is represented in the structure of the sonnet, which consists of three quatrains and a concluding couplet. Each quatrain presents a different perspective on the nature of blame and criticism, beginning with the speaker’s recognition of the negative effects of blame, then moving to the suggestion that blame may be misplaced, and ending with the idea that blame may ultimately reflect the critic’s own flaws. The final couplet serves to bring the poem to a conclusion by offering the speaker’s own perspective on how to handle criticism – by maintaining one’s own sense of self-worth.
- Major Themes in “Sonnet 70”: William Shakespeare explores several major themes, including the nature of criticism, the importance of self-worth, and the power of language in this sonnet. However, its central message is that one should not take personal blame or criticism to heart, but rather one should maintain a strong sense of self-worth. The speaker has conveyed it through the suggestion that blame may be misplaced, and that it ultimately reflects the flaws of the critics. The sonnet also highlights the power of language, with the speaker recognizing the negative effects of the harsh words used to assign blame. For example, the phrases “That thou art blamed” (line 1) and “For slander’s mark” (line 2) emphasize the weight and power of negative language. In short, “Sonnet 70” presents a complex exploration of the themes of criticism, self-worth, and language, and offers a timeless reminder of the importance of maintaining a strong sense of self in the face of criticism.
Analysis of Literary Devices Used in Sonnet 70
- Alliteration: It is the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of multiple words in a sentence or phrase. “If some suspect of ill mask’d not thy show” (Line 13) shows the repetition of the /s/ sound.
- Assonance: It is the repetition of vowel sounds within words in close proximity.: “Either not assail’d or victor being charged” (Line 10) shows the repetition of the /i/ sound in “either” and “Being” and /a/ “assail’d,” and “charged” creating assonance.
- Consonance: It is the repetition of consonant sounds within words in close proximity. “Thou hast pass’d by the ambush of young days” (Line 9) shows the repetition of the /s/ and /sh/ sounds, creating a consonance.
- Hyperbole: It is an exaggeration for emphasis or effect. “Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts shouldst owe” (Line 14) shows an exaggeration of the idea that the subject of the poem will be so admired that they will rule over many hearts.
- Metaphor: It is a comparison of two unlike things for emphasis or effect. “A crow that flies in heaven’s sweetest air” (Line 4) shows that it compares the subject of the poem to a crow in the sky.
- Personification: It gives human qualities to non-human things. For example, “being woo’d of time” (Line 6) shows time gave the human quality of being able to woo, or court, the subject of the poem.
- Symbolism: It is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. For example, in “The ornament of beauty is suspect” (Line 3) “The ornament of beauty” is a symbol of beauty.
- Understatement: It is the presentation of something as being smaller or less significant than it really is. For example, the line “Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise” (Line 11) suggests that the subject’s praise is not really praising at all when in reality it is a significant form of admiration.
Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Sonnet 70
Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.
- Diction: The sonnet employs formal and elevated diction, with words such as “thee,” “thou,” and “thine.” Line 1 uses the word “defect” to refer to a fault or flaw in the subject being blamed.
- End Rhyme: The sonnet follows the traditional Shakespearean rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, with each quatrain ending in a rhyming couplet with end rhyme such as “defect/suspect” (lines 1-2) and “time/prime” (lines 6-8).
- Meter: The sonnet is written in iambic pentameter, with each line containing ten syllables and five pairs of unstressed and stressed syllables.
- Rhyme Scheme: The rhyme scheme of the sonnet is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
- Poem Type: The sonnet is a lyric poem consisting of fourteen lines and written in a formal structure.
- Stanza: The sonnet consists of three quatrains (four-line stanzas) and a final couplet (two-line stanza).
- Tone: The tone of the sonnet is contemplative and reflective, with the speaker addressing someone who has been the subject of slander and attempting to console them.
Quotes to be Used
This quote can be used in a situation where someone is being wrongly accused or blamed for something they didn’t do.
That thou art blam’d shall not be thy defect,
For slander’s mark was ever yet the fair.