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The Significance And Involvedness Of Sonnet 130

801 words - 4 pages

Many refer to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” as the ultimate English love poem (Shakespeare). This sonnet is of the typical form and compares the beauty of a person to a summer’s day. However, Shakespeare’s unique Sonnet 130 is debatably more significant and insightful. Sonnet 130 “My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun” disregards the typical placement of the “volta” in a sonnet, describes an arguably more genuine love, and derides common love poetry of the 1600s.
The Petrarchan sonnet influenced the English sonnet Shakespeare used. The Petrarchan sonnet has fourteen lines and is separated into an octet and a sestet. The English sonnet also has ...view middle of the document...

Sonnet 130 does not hold the mistress to impossible expectations, and accepts the imperfections of the mistress. Many perceive Sonnet 130 as a harsh description of the mistress, especially for line eight because it says the “Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.” This line is often misinterpreted and more truthful than people give it credit for. In the 1600s reeks simply meant to exhale from, and the toothbrush was just being invented during this time in China. Therefore, it is doubtful any person’s breath smelled of perfume. Sonnet 130 represents a true love and exposes the exaggerations of the time as highly unrealistic.
Sonnet 130 ridicules the Petrarchan love poetry because this sonnet shows his mistress does not need to have impractical comparisons formulated between her and nature to be loved by him. Petrarchan poetry usually includes a description of the lover as resembling a goddess, and Sonnet 130 points out that “I never saw a goddess go” in line 11. Some humor is found when one considers how Shakespeare is also mocking himself because in Sonnet 18 he compares his love to nature. Sonnet 130 demonstrates how the common poetic metaphors do not help someone have a realistic picture of the person being written about. Those poetic metaphors are comparable to Photoshop today because both raise the expectations of what someone should look like, and...

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