“Beauty in the Eye of a Poet”
“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”- Kahlil Gibran. Comparatively between “Sonnet 130”, by William Shakespeare and “The Harlem Dancer”, by Claude McKay, they are English sonnets with fourteen lines or stanzas, and the rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG. Both sonnets use metaphors, imagery, and sense of tone to describe female beauty. The speaker’s admires female beauty, yet in different viewpoints. Shakespeare uses nature to compare his lover, being that she isn’t the ideal significant other. He compares her to something she is not. He was not physically attracted to her, but to him her flaws are what made her beautiful. Correspondingly, McKay saw the hidden beauty and emotions of a female dancer or performer. Although both poems are about female beauty, the speaker’s attitudes are different from one another.
Both sonnets use odd metaphors. The speakers’ love to hear the sweet sounds as the females spoke, comparing them to music. “I love to hear her speak, yet well I know that music hath a far more pleasing sound” (Shakespeare). Similarly, “Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes blown by black players upon a picnic day” (McKay). Throughout Shakespeare’s sonnet, he uses metaphors to compare his lover to nature. Viewing his significant others flaws from her eyes, lips, cheeks, breath, and voice being falsely compared to the beauty of nature. Shakespeare states that her voice isn’t so pleasing, so we imagine that it is likewise raspy, rough, or even deep. Not to mention he views all her unique ways and admits that he loves to hear her speak. This signifies that he loves her just the way she is, flaws and all, setting a more realistic view of his lover. McKay on the other hand compares the performers’ voice as being the sound of flutes blown by black players on a picnic day. By saying black players, he means jazz or soul music. In addition to her voice being compared to flutes, by means her voice was extraordinary and blended well with the music she danced to. Not only do both speakers compare the voice of these females to music, but they also differ from one another being that they view the sounds diversely. Shakespeare illustrates his mistress’ voice as very much disturbing, yet he loved to hear her voice. While McKay states that he admires the performers’ voice who sounded of blended flutes.
To give imagery details of the women being described, one poet uses nature to compare his mistress, while the other plainly describes her stage presence and appearance. They are both detailed visual sonnets. Both poets see beauty in these women, and describe them in a unique and detailed way. Throughout Shakespeare’s sonnet he uses nature and to say his mistress is not as beautiful as. One imagery Shakespeare uses in the beginning of the sonnet, stating “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips’ red” (Shakespeare). Furthermore, the imagery he uses makes us...