Love in the Poetry of the 16th and 17th Century Essay

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During the 16th and 17th century, many love poems and sonnets were written and most likely circulated for amusement and satire among poets. Though every poem is written about the poet’s undying love for their beloved, they all display different attitudes to love and ways of showing it.

In 130, Shakespeare writes of his dark lady, portraying a real picture of her genuine features. Almost every line at first glance seems like an insult to his mistress, ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;’ however, the reader can understand that he is in fact celebrating her natural beauty. It is known that poems were circulated between poets and the poem attacks other poets who flatter their lovers with false comparisons and ridiculous promises,
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Furthermore, ‘Black wires grow on her head’ is an example of his love for her individuality as blonde hair was incredibly popular.

At the end of the sonnet, Shakespeare uses a very definite and certain rhyming couplet to accentuate his love for her. ‘And yet by heaven I think my love as rare’ creates an atmosphere of confidence in the way that he swears that his love for her is genuine and special. The line ‘As any she belied with false compare’ has proved his love; that he does not need to lie about her and unrealistically flatter her to love her.

Taken as a whole, the sonnet conveys a very unusual attitude to love. Shakespeare has not written anything loving or flattering about his mistress in the sonnet yet the most striking feature is how romantic the poem is. The reader can truly understand Shakespeare’s passion and love for her in the way that he is completely honest about her.

On the other hand, in Shall I compare thee…? Shakespeare writes with an entirely different attitude to love. He transparently praises his lover with illusory descriptions of her beauty ‘thy eternal Summer shall not fade,’ and declares that her beauty shall live forever and will never fade ‘nor loose possession of that fair thou ow’st.’ The key comparison Shakespeare constructs is between his lover and

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