A third essential feature of the Chaucer-type is ‘Securing’: that the act named by the verb is assuredly performed in the uttering. But Shakespeare often leaves the situation uncertain, creating room for doubt, actively encouraging suspicion and misgiving. The play here is with assurance, in a broad sense, incorporating both self-assurance (confidence, poise) and reassurance (support, encouragement). And this play is tense with the Sonnets’ own ambivalence towards self-reflection and self-consciousness, anticipating Cartesian scepticism in its deepest, most characteristic form: the attempt to provide for the content of the thought of oneself as a persisting subject when confined within the flow of self-consciousness (the first-personal perspective).
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