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In order for a poem to be classified as a sonnet it must meet certain structural requirements and Sonnet 138 When my love swears that she is made of truth is a perfect example Shakespeare employs the traditional rhyme scheme of the English sonnet the poem is made up of three quatrains and a rhyming couplet and iambic pentameter is the predominant meter However it would be an error to approach this poem as a traditional Shakespearean love sonnet It is a love poem in the sense that a relationship between two lovers is the central theme but the reader is offered a somewhat unexpected viewpoint The stylistic constraints of the sonnet form are extremely advantageous here for they serve as a backdrop against which the poems content can be dramatically highlighted as well as reinforcing the eventual impression that the poem describes an emotionally constraining relationship In this essay I will investigate the tools with which Shakespeare constructs this unconventional love poem The sonnet has a definite sense of strophic development and the frequent twists in the narration necessitate a close examination of this The sonnet begins with a When clause launching the reader on a sentence of indeterminate length and subsequently leaving us with expectation in suspense at the end of the line The woman is emphatic she does not merely tell the truth she is made of truth Both the nature of this truth and the reason for her swearing it are unknown to the reader The immediate thought is that the speaker has challenged her in some way and whether or not this is correct it is certainly an unconventional way to begin a love poem The second line I do believe her though I know she lies introduces the reader to the wry humour that is an important feature of this sonnet The humour is produced by the comic contradiction between outward behaviour since the speakers belief in
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