Sonnet 129: Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame Poem Summary and Analysis | LitCharts
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Sonnet 129 Summary & Analysis
by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 129 Summary & Analysis
by William Shakespeare

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Published in 1609, "Sonnet 129" is part of a sequence of Shakespearean sonnets addressed to someone known as the "Dark Lady." The poem is about the frustrating, torturous side of sex and desire. It presents lust as a "savage," all-consuming force that drives people "mad," pushing them to seek out physical satisfaction at all costs. But when the act of lovemaking is over, people feel ashamed for agonizing so intensely over a pleasure as fleeting—and, to the speaker, emotionally depleting—sex. Everyone knows lust leads to self loathing, the speaker says, yet simply can't help themselves from indulging; passion is too powerful to resist.

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