Episode 18: Deconstructing Shakespeare’s Sonnet 90

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hello and happy Thanksgiving! I’m so thankful that you are here! This podcast has been a true labor of love for me and I’m thrilled to share it with you.

Today I want to tell you about something else that I am thankful for: the ability to read Shakespeare in the original English. Shakespeare’s work has made a huge impact on me. King Lear and Twelfth Night are two of my favorite plays and his sonnets are among my very favorite poems of all time. In this episode I will be deconstructing a sonnet that is near and dear to my heart: Sonnet 90. I’ll share my interpretation with you, but I also want to hear your take. What does this sonnet mean to you? Tell me in the comments.

I’m so glad you’re here to enjoy this wonderful work of literature with me. Also, if you haven’t yet, check out the podcast page on iTunes and subscribe so you can get new episodes as soon as they’re released. Thank you so much for being part of this podcast!

As I have said previously, reading short form literature is a powerful way to strengthen your understanding of the craft of writing. Shakespeare’s sonnets are dramatic and evocative, and the themes at their heart are love, passion, and loss.

Sonnets are all fourteen-line poems. They can be structured in one of two ways:

  • The Elizabethan sonnet contains three four-line stanzas followed by a couplet.
  • The Petrarchan sonnet is comprised of a grouping of eight lines followed by a grouping of six lines.

Here is Sonnet 90 for you to read and analyze along with me. Listen to the episode for my analysis of this poem.

Then hate me when thou wilt, if ever, now,
Now while the world is bent my deeds to cross;
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
And do not drop in for an after-loss:
Ah, do not, when my heart hath ’scaped this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquered woe.
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purposed overthrow.
If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite
But in the onset come; so shall I taste
At first the very worst of fortune’s might;
And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compared with loss of thee will not seem so. 

I could talk for hours just about this one sonnet but now I want to hear from you. What do you think about this sonnet? Does it resonate with you and ring true? Do you have anything to add or a different interpretation? Share your thoughts below. Also, is there a poem that has made an impact on you? Please tell me in the comments.

Link to Episode 18

(Right-click to download.)

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If you’re traveling this weekend, I hope you have a safe journey and wonderful holiday. Next week we’ll be doing a post-NaNoWriMo episode about revisions so be sure to check it out.

Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.


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