Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 And Unconventional Love

942 words - 4 pages

Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 is a parody of the typical sonnet of Shakespeare's time. Although one can interpret the poem as a mockery of the romance in the traditional sonnet, it actually is revealing how superficial the usual sonnet is. Shakespeare uses metaphors against themselves in order to create a more realistic description of the love that he feels. By using seemingly insulting comparisons, the author shows the reality of the ideal sonnet's high standards, and displays how they perceive mediocre to be negative. This contrast displays how love can be expressed and experienced unconventionally and still have the same intensity. This sonnet juxtaposes divine symbols and human traits to satirically deviate from the standard content and to make bold symbolic statements on unconventional love.At first, the reader may interpret Shakespeare's description of his mistress' physicality and temperament as an insult to his mistress. However, he is not trying to disrespect her but rather to reveal the reality and humanity of his love. The fact that he doesn't see her as a "goddess" (37:11) but as an equal being who "treads on the ground" (37:12) is his acknowledgment of his own and his mistress' mortality. When he refers to the "black wires [which] grow on her head," (37:4) Shakespeare is making another authentic comparison. In the time the sonnet was written, wires were not metal cord; the term represented fine golden thread (Mabillard). The illustration that her hair is not golden like a goddesses but black is another representation that she is not divine, but human. The focus is not meant to be on the image of wires, but on the colour he uses. In comparing her hair to wires, he is saying that it is similar to fine thread, and thus this seemingly insulting metaphor is actually saying that her hair is like fine thread, only it is human in colour. In the couplet, he accepts this humanity by affirming that he loves her regardless. He proclaims the authenticity of his love by implying that sonnets that are blind to imperfections make the women "belied with false compare" (37:14). Shakespeare's affirmation of his human love defies the traditional content of the ideal love sonnet. It expresses the strength and independence of his love, powered by something more than physical beauty and divine qualities.In describing the human traits of his mistress, Shakespeare displays her humanity through the way she is physically perceived. He acknowledges her humanity as it is received by his senses, not clouded by his imagination. First, Shakespeare talks about her appearance as I have already discussed, but then he explains the way she impacts the other senses. In saying that perfume is more pleasant than "in the breath that from [his] mistress reeks," (37:8) Shakespeare again is seemingly insulting his mistress. However, perfumes are created to...

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