Sonnet 130

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Sonnet 130 Overview

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 is about imperfection vs. perfection, personal preference on beauty, love and stereotyping. These ideas are developed throughout the poems quatrains and couplet through techniques. The technique that stood out for me and represented all of the ideas Sonnet 130 is about is imagery, whether it be negative or positive, Shakespeare uses the technique well in conjunction with other techniques to make his point stronger.

These ideas are introduced in the first quatrain “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,” this simile sets up the seemingly negative comparison extended through the text. And also involves positive imagery. Shakespeare compares his mistress eyes that are nothing like the natural image of the sun. This idea of natural imagery is used throughout the poem as it was seen as conventional beauty in the Elizabethan times. The ideas in the simile are developed further through the metaphor in line two where more positive imagery is used comparing Shakespeare’s mistress with a stereotypical perfect woman. This Stereotypical comparison is carried on through the metaphors in lines 3 and 4. Where negative imagery about his mistress is introduced. “…black wires grow on her head” We really get the impression that Shakespeare is not in love with his mistress and that he is longing for the perfect looking woman.

Quatrain 2 begins with a personal pronoun, which brings in a more personal approach. Quatrain 2 is filled with negative imagery, the one that stands out for me as the most seemingly hurtful towards his mistress still being compared to ‘perfection’ is “…the breath that from my mistress reeks” This line especially gives you the impression that Shakespeare does not love his mistress.

The Volta at the start of quatrain 3, line 9, turns the poem around to begin Shakespeare’s true feelings towards his mistress. “I love to hear her speak” This changes the way we think Shakespeare see’s his mistress and...
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