No Groove in the GunsightsLars KullbergAlways under the thumb of his dark mistress, the speaker strugglesbeneath her power. Try as he may, he will never be able to break the tie oflust between the two.
His threats are not threatening to her, and he knows this. His power is beneath her’s, and he knows this as well. By threatening hislover in the 140th sonnet, the speaker is merely admitting to his ownhelplessness to which he is forever bound. This appears to be the first sonnet in which he is taking a stand.
Never before has he spoken in such a threatening tone: “Be wisedo not press/Mytongue tied patience” (140. 1-2). One might think that he is now revealing forthe first time his yet unheard of power. But he has no such power. He knows that his threats do not frighten herso why does he even bother? Sure, he could untie his tongue and let the worldknow of her habits. However, no one would care.Order now
She is a dark ladyshe andothers like her are meant to be that way. He would only be telling what isalready known. However, what she has to tell of him is not already known. Being a married man, he is not expected to have a mistress. She is his only mistress. They both know this as well.
If he were tolose her, he would have nothing left. She knows his lust for herhis need forher. She knows he lives for her darkness and for the pleasure he finds in hertemporary as it may be. Temporary yet lasting. There may be times when hethinks he can live without her, but the time comes again soon when he feels thefamiliar lust again.
It is the lack of love which makes it temporary. However,it is the abundance of lust which makes it permanent. He is only one of her many lovers. If she were to loose him, she wouldstill have many others to satisfy her.
She takes comfort in the fact that heneeds her and he remains under her thumb to almost any extent. The speakerknows she has many lovers. He claims to hate her unfaithfulness, but in fact helikes it. He likes the fact that she is nothing more than an object of sexoftemporary pleasure. If she were really in love with him and were truly faithful,he would be less attracted to her.
The passion and the lust would be gone. So the question remainswhy does he bother with these empty threats?She would laugh if she were to hear these threats; he knows this. These threatsare not for her to hear, but for himself to hear. Sometimes you say things justto hear them saidbecause they sound good to the ear. But you know these thingshold no meaning and are not true.
After the bully takes your lunch money, youwhisper under your breath, “He’s dead. I’ll kill him one of these days. “Although you know you never will. It just feels good to say these things as asort of release.
And that is all it isa release. The speaker likes to think of himselfas the one in power, as most anyone would. Even he himself admits to his ownhelplessness at the end of the sonnet: “Bear thine eyes straight, though thyproud heart go wide. ” (140.
14) He knows she sleeps around, but he asks that shepretend as though she doesn’t when she is with him. What he means by that lastline is, “I know my threats mean nothing to you, but make believe they do justfor my sake. “So our speaker turns out to be not much different from the lot of us. He lusts after that which is bad for him. He seeks out that which will destroyhim. And once he finds this entity, he is forever enslaved to it.