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Sonnet 144

Better Angels

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The only mention in any of Shakespeare’s plays of the “better angel” is in Othello (5.2.235), when Gratiano, speaking over Desdemona’s body, speaks of her father:

Did he live now,
This sight would make him do a desperate turn,
Yea, curse his better angel from his side,

Shakespeare makes another mention of the “better angel”
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Two loves I have, of comfort and despair

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Two loves I have, of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still.
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman colored ill.
To win me soon to hell my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And whether that my angel be turned fiend
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell;
But being both from me, both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another's hell.
Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.


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Better Angels