Beauty And True Beauty In Shakespeare's Sonnet 130

1205 Words 5 Pages
Unconventional in nature and an obvious mockery of traditional Sixteenth Century love sonnets, Shakespeare composes Sonnet 130 in which he discusses the appearance of his mistress. Unlike other sonnet writers of his time, Shakespeare does not over exaggerate her beauty by comparing her to features to objects in nature. He explains that his mistress’ eyes “are nothing like the sun” (line 1) and “coral is far more red than her lips’ red” (line 2) however, by making these assertions, Shakespeare does not diminish her beauty in any way. Rather Shakespeare creates an image of what true beauty is not and implies what it is. True beauty has no standard. It is not pale skin or rosy cheeks, true beauty is left to the eye of the beholder. For Shakespeare, …show more content…
Shakespeare extensively utilizes imagery, metaphors, sardonic tone and critical diction to provide a contrast between the perception of beauty and true beauty; in doing so, critiques the professions of admiration of unrealistic descriptions and unattainable images made by other poets, while asserting the theme of unwavering and nonsensical nature of genuine love. The vivid imagery and metaphors in lines one through twelve establish the perception and standard for beauty in which Shakespeare destroys in the last two lines. In line five, Shakespeare describes roses he has seen, some of which have been “damasked red and white” (line 5). He creates this conventional image of a red rose which produces the traditional perceptions of beauty and softness attached this image. This line in conjunction with the proceeding line, in which Shakespeare states that “no such roses see I in her cheeks” (line 6), produces several different images. In line five, Norton Anthology defines the term “damasked” as a note the side of the line, which states that damasked is synonymous with the word ‘dappled.’ Dappled nearly means mingled or touched in a pattern. These words present an image that suggests the ideal woman who explemfies beauty should have flushed cheeks with …show more content…
Shakespeare in this line has a sarcastic tone. His tone states that he finds it absurd to compare hair to wires but if he must do so to provide a level of comprehension for where his mistress falls on the standardized spectrum of beauty then he shall. In Petrarchan poetry, woman with hair spun with gold were the ideal of beauty. But Shakespeare mocks this ideal, by stating “black wires grow on her head” however, it must be noted that he never implies that the black wires were unattractive or repulsive, simply different. The critical diction presents a very direct argument: the speaker’s mistress does not resemble a goddess nor any abstract creature. When the speaker asserted that he “never saw a goddess go [walk]” because his mistress’ walk does not hold grace nor eloquence and in making this assertion, mocks conventional poets who profess that their ladies walk like goddesses. By declaring that he “never saw a goddess go” implies that nor has any of his colleagues because a goddess is a heavenly creature; and thus to assert

Related Documents