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Sonnet 130 vs. the Passionate

Oct 08, 1999 851 Words
Compare And Contrast Essay
In William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 and Christopher Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd To His Love, the themes of unconditional love, opulent treasures, and vivid imagery are all conveyed throughout the poems but through different point of views. The theme of unconditional love is expressed through the two poems. The poet proclaims his affection for her by telling his “love” that he will give her anything in the world if she would just be with him. “And if these pleasures may thee move, come live with me, and be my love.” His words show that he is willing to do anything and everything for her by giving her “a gown made of the finest wool” or even “coral clasps and amber studs” just for her to “live with him and be my (his) love.” However, the poet knows that he can not give her these offerings because the gifts that he is willing to give her are merely tokens of exaggerations and are listed to show his beloved that this is how much he wants her. Whereas in Sonnet 130, the poet is earnest and truthful in what he writes about his love. “I love to hear her speak, yet well I know that music hath a far more pleasing sound, yet, I think my love as rare as any she belied with false compare.” This shows his honesty in speaking about his object of affection, yet he achieves the same sense of unconditional love that the poet in Marlowe’s poem tries to delineate without using embellishments. The speaker in Sonnet 130 doesn’t hyperbolize about his “rare” love using a plethora of exaggerations to portray his fondness for his “mistress” as the poet in Marlowe’s poem did. Even though the two poems have the theme as unconditional love, the portrayals of it are achieved through different methods. Opulent treasures are also used within both poems whether it be treasures of physical attributes or treasures of tangible gifts to express their loves for the women in their lives. The poet of The Passionate Shepherd To His Love uses tangible gifts such as “ a gown made of the finest wool or far lined slippers with buckles of the purest gold.” “And I will make thee beds of roses and a thousand fragrant posies.” This shows that the poet is trying to use riches to persuade his love to “come live with me (him)” by showing her that he will give her all these opulent treasures if she would just fulfill his one wish. However, in Shakespeare’s poem, the poet expresses the same kind of love but instead uses characteristics and physical attributes of his love rather than tangible materialistic things like the poet in Marlowe’s poem did. The persona in Sonnet 130 uses attributes of his beloved to tell her that she is “rare” and at the same time he loves her. After listing all her physical attributes, he writes “I think my love is rare as any she belied with false compare.” The speaker in Sonnet 130 doesn’t have to use substantial objects to show his love that he really loves her; he writes on the reasons why he loves her instead of writing about giving her all these treasures that he knows that he cannot give as the persona in Marlowe’s poem did. Even though the two poems are similar in that they discuss unconditional love, they are expressed with different conditions: one uses opulent treasures while the other uses physical attributes.

The use of vivid imagery is prevalent in the two poems. The poet in Marlowe’s poem uses distinct imagery to convey his point of unconditional love, but makes use of imagery through places and objects. “And I will make thee a cap of flowers, and a kirtle embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.” This description shows the intent of willingness he has to have her by his side. Nevertheless, in Sonnet 130, the persona uses imagery of her physical appearance to show his love. The poet in Sonnet 130 does not use imagery of riches but uses commonplace substances to reveal his love for her. “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; coral is far more red than her lips’ red” and then he discusses how even though she is just an average woman, he loves her with all his heart. Although the two poets uses different elements to express their love, the meaning of their devotion for their loved ones are portrayed eminently. Even though the two poems express the themes of unconditional love, opulent treasures, and vivid imagery, they have differences within their similarities. These similarities and differences within the poems not only make the themes more lucid, but they also help to show the intent of the poets’

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