Analysis of Milton's Sonnet 4

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Sonnet 4 Diodati, and I will say it to you with wonder, that stubborn I, who used to contemn love and frequently scoffed at his snares, now have fallen where upright man sometimes entangles himself. No tresses of gold nor vermeil cheeks [5] deceive me thus, but under a new-found fancy foreign beauty which blesses my heart, a look highly virtuous, and in her eyes that tranquil brightness of amiable black, speech adorned with more than one language, [10] and the song that could well mislead the laboring moon from its course in middle sky, and from her eyes shoots such great fire that enwaxing my ears would be little help to me ** ______________________________________________________________________________ ** Milton thought of the Sirens’ singing to Ulysses, whose men’s ears were sealed to avoid enticement. (Od., XII, 39-58) _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Sonnet 4 describes the compliance of a man who previously refuted all notions of love. The speaker claims to not have fallen in love with a woman based on the conventional characteristics of female beauty such as “tresses of gold nor vermeil cheeks” but rather instead has fallen in love with the “honest demeanor, and in the brow that calm, tender black splendor” of a woman. The speaker claims that he can resist all of the usual or “normal” traits associated with the features of female beauty, but he cannot resist however, this new attraction of “exotic beauty” that lies underneath the surface or appearance of a woman. Milton writes to his childhood friend Charles Diodati and tells him how amazed he is that now he too has “fallen where upright man sometimes entangles himself.” Milton despised the notion of love and ridiculed the allurement many men have felt – “frequently scoffed at his snares” – but now he too
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