Sonnet 79 Analysis

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Poetry Analysis Essay
Sonnet 79 by Edmund Spenser is organized into three quatrains and a couplet. In this poem Spenser addresses his wife and tells how he does not pay close attention to outward appearances, but greatly admires a woman's internal beauty.

In the first quatrain Spenser starts by saying that men call the women beautiful and she herself knows it is true also. Then he states that he believes the truly beautiful are the ones with "gentle wit" and "virtuous mind." In the next quatrain he talks about the ones with only external beauty that will eventually fade. Because flesh is corruptible and cannot avoid the effects of age the outwardly beautiful will eventually "turn to naught and lose that glorious hue." Also there is a consonance of "t" sounds in "shall turn to naught" which contributes in creating a harsher sound. It gives an impression of a sort of "tsking" sound that makes Spenser sound like he was disapproving or pitying the women with only external beauty. In the third quatrain Spenser further explains what true beauty is and the reason the woman is truly beautiful. According to Spenser the woman possesses true beauty because God has created her and thus she is "divine and born of heavenly seed." The "v" sounds are apparent in "divine" and "heavenly" and links the words together. Also words such as divine, heavenly, perfect, and references to God gives the impression that the woman is some kind of being higher than a mere mortal, making her seem angelic.

The volta occurs at the couplet, where Spenser simultaneously explains the previous two lines and concludes the whole poem. There is also a change in tone at the couplet where in the lines before there is a consonance of "t" and "d" sounds which contributes in creating a harsher tone. But, in the couplet the "t" and "d" sounds altogether disappear, where a consonance of "r" sounds appear. The "r" sounds in "fair…fair…fair…flowers" are much more pleasant and soothing than the harsher...
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