Summary and Analysis Sonnet 145


As the sequel to the previous sonnet, Sonnet 145 is a trivial treatment of love. The mistress grants pity on the poet in contrast to previous sonnets, in which she was merciless. Before, her only words to the poet were “I hate,” but once she sees how he “languished for her sake,” her hatred turns into mercy. Although the imagery of “fiend” and “heaven and hell” continues from Sonnet 144, the tacit meaning of Sonnet 145 is vastly different from the earlier sonnets. The poet creates suspense up until the sonnet’s last two words, when he quickly relieves his gloomy expectations by conveying the mistress’ phrase “not you”: “I hate . . . not you.” Melodramatically, these words “saved [the poet’s] life.”