How Do the Poets Portray the Nature of Love in Relationships?

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Emma Louise Harper

How do the poets portray the nature of love in relationships?

‘Sonnet 130’ is a pre 1914 poem, by William Shakespeare, about love although it is not a traditional love poem. The poem is not a flattering poem but is more insulting. The opening line of Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 is a simile "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun". Unlike other poets who may exaggerate on describing the one they love, Shakespeare tells it as it is. Shakespeare continues to describe his mistress in terms of the senses of sight, smell, sound and touch. Shakespeare describes his mistress’ lips as “Coral is far more red than her lips’ red” This is giving the impression that lips of his mistress’ are a very pale colour. He continues to say "her breasts are dun" In Shakespeare’s time pale skin would have been more admiring, but his mistress’ is describing to have dun-coloured breasts, dun being a brown colour. His mistress’ is described as having wire like hair as he says "If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head" Shakespeare is saying that his mistress does not have soft, sleek hair. Shakespeare also picks up on the facial appearance of his mistress saying that in her cheeks she has no colour “No such roses see I in her cheeks” He also describes his mistress’ as in having bad breath “ Breath that from my mistress reeks”. In line nine he gives the first compliment “ I love to hear her speak” however then admitting follows he would rather listen to music “ That music hath a far more pleasing sound” In the last two lines of Sonnet 130 they end with a rhyming couplet. This is also a change in the content, Shakespeare says that in spite of all the bad things about his mistress that he does love her “I think my love as rare” and “As any she belied with false compare” Shakespeare is saying how appearance is not what matters when it is true love, but infact inner beauty. ‘My Last Duchess’ is also a pre 1914 poem, but is about a man who killed his wife or so...
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