Summary and Analysis Sonnet 10



Sonnet 10 repeats and extends the argument of Sonnet 9, with the added suggestion that the youth really loves no one. Clearly, the poet does not seriously believe the young man to be incapable of affection, for then there would be no point in the poet's trying to maintain a relationship with him. However, underneath the mock-serious tone is the poet's suggestion that the youth's self-love wastes himself. Narcissism means infatuation with one's own appearance, but the youth's absorption with his own image is really an attachment to nobody. He therefore loses the power of returning the creative force of love in a relationship. The poet considers the youth's unwillingness to marry a form of homicide against his potential progeny, which he suggested in Sonnet 9: "The world will wail thee like a makeless wife;/ The world will be thy widow, and still weep . . ." And in Sonnet 10, the poet writes, "For thou art so possessed with murdrous hate/ that 'gainst thyself thou stick'st not to conspire." Here, Sonnet 10 creates the image of marriage as a house with a roof falling in decay that the youth should seek to repair, but the poet uses the house imagery less to indicate marriage than to suggest the youth's beauty would reside in his offspring: "Make thee another self for love of me,/ That beauty still may live in thine or thee."