Summary and Analysis Sonnet 39



Sonnet 39 constructs an ingenious variation on the theme of ab-sence. Ironically, separation is inspirational: "That by this separation I may give / That due to thee which thou deserv'st alone." Also, as the youth is the "better part" of the poet, the two remain united through the poet's imagination, though they are physically separated. Through a series of rhetorical questions, the poet explores the paradox of his being simultaneously two beings. There can be no satisfactory conclusion as separate lives make separate identities, not one. Either the poet loves himself and betrays the youth, or the poet loves the youth and betrays himself.