Shakespeare Sonnet 130

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English 4 3/16/06 In Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130”, Shakespeare describes a woman that he once loved. The sonnet clearly mocks the typical clichés, in which women’s eyes were compared to the sun, stars, and other beautiful things. Although he is obviously trying to poke fun at the clichés, he refuses to use typical descriptions. This technique sets Shakespeare’s lover aside from the other women that are always described in clichés. But not using the typical means of description, he shows how the woman is a unique lady. In the first stanza, Shakespeare first describes the woman using beautiful imagery making her look like a goddess. Then he remarks that her skin is a dull brown color. These images present two different perceptions of the woman: one ugly and one beautiful. Shakespeare makes it clear that the woman does not measure up to the normal standards of beauty, but to him her “dirty” side is attractive, which makes him love her. Shakespeare continues to insult the woman in the second stanza. He remarks how her cheeks contain no deep rose color and how her breath reeks like bad perfume. Again, this is not the usual approach to the composition, instead of berating the woman with compliments, Shakespeare continues to degrade her. Here the readers are persuaded that this is definitely not a love sonnet. The third stanza seems to compliment the woman. Shakespeare compares her to an angel that walks earth. He also claims her his equal. He claims that he loves to hear her voice, yet he says “music hath a far more pleasing sound.” He plays with the readers mind by complimenting and insulting the woman at the same time. Now the reader is not sure what to think at all. In the last lines of the sonnet, the ending couplet, Shakespeare makes it clear that it is indeed a love sonnet. He states that his love is “as rare/ As any She belied with false compare.”

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