By analyzing the surface contrast between romance and loneliness, one can understand why these two seemingly different themes can so beautifully clash in Amoretti 89. Spenser finds a way to bring out the beauty in a topic, such as loneliness, that many writers would not have been able to do. Spenser compares but also contrasts such beautiful and different topics within Amoretti 89 by exploring the romantic side of loneliness and how even when all alone one’s heart can be overwhelmingly full.
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Loneliness and romance should not interfere with each other but reading Amoretti 89 proves otherwise, which is why this sonnet is so compelling and out of the ordinary. The use of literary devices, such as symbolism and rhyme help, to balance the idea of waiting for love with the concept that distance makes the heart grow fonder.
In this sonnet one of the main themes is loneliness, as Spenser discusses waiting for his days to get brighter as a result of this love’s presence. Also in the beginning, in the first two lines, there is evidence that the female counterpart is mourning or dealing with a great deal of sadness at the fact that her lover is not there, as she “sits mourning for the absence of her mate,” (2). The use of the gerund “mourning” implies that the emotions are actively being felt. In a way Spenser is actively feminizing himself, this can be portrayed as quite an odd thing to do especially because other writers were not allowing themselves to be seen as anything other than a man. The reversal of gender can show that Spenser is not afraid to have feminine characteristics. Interestingly enough if feels as if Spenser is trying to teach men that it’s ok to have emotions and that emotions do not define gender. Defining emotions as a human characteristic adds to the idea of women and men being equals. This loneliness affects these two lovers by keeping them hopeful even when they feel that all love is lost. Even the narrator states his loneliness saying, “So I alone now left disconsolate, /Mourn to myself the absence of my love” (5,6). In this moment, he points out that she felt the same if not more pain when she left, despite the amount of love that they had for each other. He depicts women having a strength that many Petrarchan authors did not normally do. This thought emphasizes the idea that virtuous love should equate to treating each other like equals. In the end of the sonnet the love they have for each other is causing such raw and unfiltered emotions. But at the same time they are both honest and accept the love they feel for the other. Oddly there is something so unapologetically romantic about the way that they love despite everything that they have to endure. Spenser said it like this for a reason if he had phrased is another way would the emotions have been portrayed as strongly. The use of an extended simile adds more comparative values to the rhyme of love/dove. In contrast to other sonnet sequences, this loneliness is romantic, many sonnets only focus on the woes of the narrator and do not establish a connectedness between the man and woman counterparts.
The use of rhyme in Amoretti 89 seems to add to the romantic appearance of the sonnet. In reality, this sonnet has depressing content but the rhyme and tone adds a positive progression into why this is romantic and beautiful. When Spenser say, “Ne joy of aught that under heaven doth hove, /Can comfort me, but her own joyous sight” (9,10), he draws attention to the notion that there is nothing that he finds joyful if his lover is not with him. Unlike some of the other sonnets during the Renaissance, the rhyme that was used within Amoretti 89 was very innovative to the turn of events and connected the stanzas together. One set of words that rhymed were love and dove. This was an interesting choice of words because doves represent love, purity and messengers. Spenser might have used this rhyme to evoke some sort of symbolism. Another set of words that rhymed were miss and bliss, in the caplet: “Dark is my day, while her fair light I miss, /And dead my life that wants such lively bliss” (13,14). The word miss conjures up thoughts of sadness and the combination of miss with the word dark make the tone feel gloomy. The rhyme of miss and bliss following that depressive mood can instill hope in the reader that with missing her we know that she still brings him an immense amount of bliss. There becomes a sense that eventually his longing will end due to her return but it is unclear. It would make sense that his heart should feel complete the minute she enters his life again.
There are many different interpretations that could be drawn from the use of love and dove. Together they can conjure up emotions of virtuous love which then can relate to Amoretti, as a whole, on a much greater level. Amoretti has a feel of virtuous love in a sense that these lovers respect each other and that the narrator respects not only the body of the woman but also the mind. Spenser does not objectify women to the same degree of many other poets. He writes about his lady in a way that is respectful to her as a whole person. Rather than only emphasizing her beauty, he emphasizes her intelligence. Amoretti 89 is not like other Petrarchan styled sonnets and it allows for more emotions to be felt by readers. The style of Spenser appears different because he used Petrarchan styles at first but then as he goes on he develops a style that gives the woman a voice/opinion. The way Spenser treats his women better and he does not only seem to be focusing on her physical beauty. He focuses a lot on the fact that his lover is intelligent.
In conclusion, the clash between loneliness and love serves as a higher reminder of what love should be. Spenser seems to have understood that love is more than infatuation or lust. He knew that love deals with emotions and mutual partnership. Analyzing the rhyme, tone, and symbolism within this sonnet allows for more understanding of how Spenser differed from other poets during the Renaissance. The idea that distance makes the heart grow fonder was explored heavily and seemed to have support throughout this sonnet. This stanza differs from the norm by pushing the boundaries of emotions, Petrarchan style tends to have the narrator pine after the women they love rather than just missing their lover. Spenser found a way to compare but also contrast such beautiful and different topics within Amoretti 89. The exploration of the romantic side of loneliness and how even when left alone, one’s heart can be overwhelmingly full depicts emotions other than pining. After analyzing Amoretti 89, Spenser used what he knew to tastefully bring love and loneliness together in a way to tell a beautiful story about virtuous love.
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