Justification for the use of "Lord of" in "Sonnet 146"

William Shakespeare’s "Sonnet 146" describes the relationships between life and death and the body and soul. "Lord of " would best fit the unknown phrase at the beginning of the second line because it is consistent with the metaphors of the sonnet. One metaphor is the "sinful earth" being the body . Another metaphor is that of the house being the body and the occupant or Lord of the house is the soul.

The first metaphor of the sonnet is that of the "sinful earth" (1). Every human in the Christian religion has the ability to sin because of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Original sin is hereditary and therefore everybody is full of sin. The "sinful earth" (1) is a metaphor for the human body which, according to the Christian religion is sinful. "sinful earth" is directly related to the phrase, "rebel powers" (2) because "sinful" has negative connotations just as "rebel" does. The "rebel powers" (2) is another metaphor for the human body. It is the human body that is trying to rebel against the soul. It keeps the soul confined and opposes the free nature of the soul. The phrase "Lord of" fits in this metaphor because "Lord of" implies that the soul is in power and is the body is rebelling against that power. The soul although confined by the body, has control of the body even if only for a short while.

The second metaphor like the first deals with the temporary occupation of the body by the soul. This time the metaphor is that of the body being a mansion and the soul being the occupant of the house. The metaphor is conveyed through these lines, "Painting thy outward walls so costly gay? / Why so large cost, having so short a lease, / Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?" (4-6). In these lines there are many words in the register that pertain to a house and the dweller within the house. The "outward walls" (4) that are being "Painted" (4) represent the human body and the way that people attempt to make their physical appearance appealing. The end of the fifth line, "having so short a lease" (5) reinforces the fact that the house does indeed represent the human body being only a temporary dwelling for the soul. The idea that the house or human body requires much capital to keep it’s appearance nice is expressed at the end of line four and the beginning of line five, "so costly gay / Why so large cost" (4-5). These lines suggest that whomever dwells in that house must have large sums of money in order to pay for the physical changes on the outside. Since the phrase "Lord of" (2) refers to the human soul and a Lord is a person of great wealth and would be able to pay for the "Painting" (4) of the house one can assume that the person dwelling within the house represents the soul . This is another place in the sonnet that supports the phrase, "Lord of" (2) in the second line. Line 6 also suggests that the a Lord would be dwelling within the house because the house is now labeled as a mansion and only wealthy and often important people live in mansions again reinforcing the validity of the phrase, "Lord of"(2).

Throughout the sonnet Shakespeare uses metaphors to convey the idea that the soul is held within the human body and that it is not worth investing much in the body because it is only temporary. He also suggests that the soul is not only important but wealthy. The soul spends large sums on the body and looks at the body as a servant. The registers and the metaphors are all consistent with the phrase "Lord of" (2) referring to the human soul. This idea of giving a familiar and tangible name to an intangible object to describe it is repeated over and over in literary history. This is not only useful to understand the intangible object itself better but can give one a better idea of how the writer and perhaps the people of his/her time viewed the object. This can also help the reader to understand the rest of the text.