digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

Sonnet 130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

–William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 mocks the conventions of the showy and flowery courtly sonnets in its realistic portrayal of his mistress.

Synopsis[edit]

Sonnet 130 satirizes the concept of ideal beauty that was a convention of literature and art in general during the Elizabethan era. Influences originating with the poetry of ancient Greece and Rome had established a tradition of this, which continued in Europe's customs of courtly love and in courtly poetry, and the work of poets such as Petrarch. It was customary to praise the beauty of the object of one's affections with comparisons to beautiful things found in nature and heaven, such as stars in the night sky, the golden light of the rising sun, or red roses.[1] The images conjured by Shakespeare were common ones that would have been well-recognized by a reader or listener of this sonnet.

Shakespeare satirizes the hyperbole of the allusions used by conventional poets, which even by the Elizabethan era, had become cliché, predictable, and uninspiring. This sonnet compares the Poet’s mistress to a number of natural beauties; each time making a point of his mistress’ obvious inadequacy in such comparisons; she cannot hope to stand up to the beauties of the natural world. The first two quatrains compare the speaker’s mistress to aspects of nature, such as snow or coral; each comparison ending unflatteringly for the mistress. In the final couplet, the speaker proclaims his love for his mistress by declaring that he makes no false comparisons, the implication being that other poets do precisely that. Shakespeare's sonnet aims to do the opposite, by indicating that his mistress is the ideal object of his affections because of her genuine qualities, and that she is more worthy of his love than the paramours of other poets who are more fanciful.

Poetic rhyme scheme[edit]

The poetic rhyme scheme uses standard Shakespearean iambic pentameter, following the AB-AB/CD-CD/EF-EF/GG poetic form.

Analysis[edit]

Sonnet 130 as a satire[edit]

“This sonnet plays with poetic conventions in which, for example, the mistress’s eyes are compared with the sun, her lips with coral, and her cheeks with roses. His mistress, says the poet, is nothing like this conventional image, but is as lovely as any woman”.[2] Here, Barbara Mowat offers her opinion of the meaning behind Sonnet 130; this work breaks the mold to which Sonnets had come to conform. Shakespeare composed a sonnet which seems to parody a great many sonnets of the time. Poets like Thomas Watson, Michael Drayton, and Barnabe Barnes were all part of this sonnet craze and each wrote sonnets proclaiming love for an almost unimaginable figure;[3] Patrick Crutwell posits that Sonnet 130 could actually be a satire of the Thomas Watson poem “Passionate Century of Love”, pointing out that the Watson poem contains all but one of the platitudes that Shakespeare is making fun of in Sonnet 130.[4] However, E.G. Rogers points out the similarities between Watson’s “Passionate Century of Love,” Sonnet 130, and Richard Linche’s Poem collection entitled “Diella.”[5] There is a great deal of similarity between sections of the Diella poem collection and Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130”, for example in “130” we see, “If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head,” where in “Diella” we see “Her hayre exceeds fold forced in the smallest wire.”[6] Each work uses a comparison of hairs to wires; while in modern sense this may seem unflattering, one could argue that Linche’s work draws upon the beauty of weaving gold and that Shakespeare mocks this with harsh comparison. This, along with other similarities in textual content, lead, as E.G. Rodgers points out, the critic to believe that Diella may have been the source of inspiration for both homage, by Watson’s “Passionate Century of Love,” and satire by Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130.” The idea of Satire is further enforced by final couplet of “130” in which the speaker delivers his most expositional line: “And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare, as any she belied with false compare.” This line projects the message behind this work, demeaning the false comparisons made by many poets of the time.[7]

Sonnet 130: Complimentary/derisive nature[edit]

According to Carl Atkins, many early editors took the sonnet at face value and believed that it was simply a disparagement of the writer’s mistress.[8] However, William Flesch believes that the poem is actually quite the opposite, and acts as a compliment. He points out that many poems of the day seem to compliment the object of the poem for qualities that they really don’t have, such as snow white skin or golden hair.[9] He states that people really don’t want to be complimented on a quality they don’t have, e.g. an old person doesn’t want to be told they are physically young, they want to be told they are youthful, in behavior or in looks. Flesch notes that while what Shakespeare writes of can seem derisive, he is in reality complimenting qualities the mistress truly exhibits, and he ends the poem with his confession of love.

Possible influences[edit]

Petrarch

Shakespeare and other great writers would reference each other and each other’s works in their own writing. According to Felicia Jean Steele, Shakespeare uses Petrarchan imagery while actually undermining it at the same time.[10] Stephen Booth would agree that Shakespeare references Petrarchan works however, Booth says that Shakespeare “gently mocks the thoughtless mechanical application of the standard Petrarchan metaphors.”[11] Felicia Steele and Stephen Booth agree that there is some referencing going on, they vary slightly in the degree of Shakespeare’s mockery. Steele feels much stronger about the degree in which Shakespeare is discounting Petrarchan ideas by observing that in 14 lines of Sonnet 130, “Shakespeare seems to undo, discount, or invalidate nearly every Petrarchan conceit about feminine beauty employed by his fellow sonneteers.” The final couplet is designed to undo the damage Shakespeare has done to his reader’s faith that he indeed loves his “dusky mistress.” Steele’s article offers Stephen Booth’s paraphrasing of the couplet: “I think that my love is as rare as any woman belied by false compare.” Helen Vendler, who is also referenced in Steele’s article states that the final couplet would read; “In all, by heaven, I think my love as rare/ As any she conceived for compare.” All three of these authors; Steele, Booth, and Vendler believe that in this couplet, Shakespeare is responding to Petrarchan imagery because other sonneteers actively misrepresent, or “belie” their mistress‘ beauty.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Evans, Gwynne Blakemore (2006). The Sonnets. Cambridge University Press. p. 233. ISBN 9780521678377. 
  2. ^ Mowat, Barbara A., and Paul Werstine, eds. Shakespeare's Sonnets. New York: Washington Square, 2004. Print.
  3. ^ Quennell, P. Shakespeare: the Poet and his Background. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1964. Print
  4. ^ Crutwell, Patrick. The Shakespearean Moment and its Place in the Poetry of the 17th Century. New York: Random House. 1960. Print
  5. ^ Rogers, E.G., "Sonnet CXXX: Watson to Linche to Shakespeare." Shakespeare Quarterly. 11.2 (1960): 232-233. Print.
  6. ^ Rogers, E.G., "Sonnet CXXX: Watson to Linche to Shakespeare." Shakespeare Quarterly. 11.2 (1960): 232-233. Print.
  7. ^ Vendler, Helen. The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Harvard University Press, Massachusetts, 1997
  8. ^ Shakespeare, William, and Carl D. Atkins. Shakespeare's Sonnets: with Three Hundred Years of Commentary. Madison NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2007. Print.
  9. ^ Flesch, William. "Personal Identity and Vicarious Experience in Shakespeare's Sonnets." Print. Rpt. in A Companion to Shakespeare's Sonnets. Ed. Michael Schoenfeldt. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007. 383-401. Print.
  10. ^ Steele, Felicia Jean. "Shakespeare Sonnet 130." Explicator 62. pp. 132-137. 2003
  11. ^ Booth, Stephan. Shakespeare's Sonnets, Edited with Analytic Commentary. New Haven, 1977

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonnet_130 — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
56091 videos foundNext > 

Alan reads Shakespeare's Sonnet 130

Alan Rickman reads Shakespeare with his amazing voice! I added some pictures, I hope you like it ;-) SONNET 130 My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; C...

Daniel Radcliffe or Alan Rickman? You decide on Sonnet 130

A comparison of Daniel's and Alan's interpretations of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 130. Does age and experience tell a different story to the exuberance of ...

Sonnet 130 Explication

A screencast of how to pull apart(or explicate) Shakespeare's Sonnet #130. It's simple, but hits the high points. Not intended as a substitute for heavy-duty...

Shakespeare Sonnet 130 - Alan Rickman

My second attempt at kinetic typography, this time for one of Shakespeare's famous sonnets, read by actor Alan Rickman.

Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 read by Tom Hiddleston

Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 read by Tom Hiddleston Movie clips 'The Deep Blue Sea'

Lit. Poetry SMILE Analysis - Sonnet 130

Breakdown of the poem with some SMILE points below, feel free to add your own: Sonnet 130 S : love style sonnet -- seems ironic S : Sarcastic all the way thr...

Sonnet 130: My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun

Sonnet 130, by Shakespeare; read by Jamie Muffett.

Sonnet 130 - William Shakespeare [Kinetic Typography]

Sonnet 130 - William Shakespeare Read by Tom Hiddleston Another kinetic typography of mine. Loved to make this! Enjoy! xx.

Shakespeare's Sonnet #130: "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun"

Video images are from a rare ORIGINAL 1609 EDITION of Shake-speares Sonnets held by the British Library. It is one of only thirteen copies in existence. Imag...

Alan Rickman reads Shakespeare's sonnet 130

For all of you, who love Alan Rickman and William Shakespeare :) "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun " from the album "When Love Speaks", released un...

56091 videos foundNext > 

45 news items

 
Student Pulse
Wed, 17 Nov 2010 07:06:56 -0800

Additionally, it is apparent that in “Sonnet 130,” Shakespeare actually satirizes Petrarch's style and musings as his narrator describes his mistress, whose “eyes are nothing like the sun” (Shakespeare 3: 106). Shakespeare appears to be making light of ...
 
mediabistro.com
Sat, 30 Apr 2011 14:49:18 -0700

To end the month, we've dug up a video featuring Alan Rickman and his recitation of William Shakespeare's “Sonnet 130.” While many have come to know Rickman for playing Harry Potter potions master Severus Snape, he is also a respected stage actor.

gulfnews.com

gulfnews.com
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:56:15 -0800

Hints of this became apparent in his songwriting when he took inspiration from William Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 on his song Sister Moon. But lyrics weren't the only way he exercised his literary muscles. He put his skills to use on his autobiography ...

Anglophenia

Anglophenia
Thu, 02 Oct 2014 10:26:54 -0700

And if that all seems a bit too good to be true, how about “Sonnet 130,” read by Alan Rickman? It's the one in which Shakespeare in completely the opposite direction, disassociating the object of his affections from the wonders of nature, but with a ...

Waikato Times

Waikato Times
Sun, 24 Aug 2014 16:36:48 -0700

DEAN BALLINGER: The man who with director and artist Greg Page gave the city the nickname The Tron was a band member in Mobile Stud Unit, a morning presenter on UFM and recently published a comic book on Browsers bookstore.

The Guardian

The Guardian
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 03:00:17 -0700

I sit in on Mr Bispham's lesson, where his Year 7s are riffing confidently on Shakespeare's Sonnet 130, with their teacher as the subject of their bard-inspired iambic pentameter insults (“My master's hairline no longer exists”, goes down particularly ...
 
Huffington Post
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 18:08:22 -0700

She had critiqued the frailties of colloquial speech, she had lampooned the faulty logic of advertisements, she had performed, explicated, and travestied sonnet 130, and she had critiqued Plato's idea that rhetoric deployed in the name of friendship is ...
 
Santa Monica Mirror
Wed, 12 Mar 2014 09:52:30 -0700

Students from 25 LA schools were represented at the semi-final competition in February at Marlborough School in Los Angeles, where Alex delivered a poignant performance of Henry V's St. Crispin Day Speech and Sonnet 130 to secure one of just six slots ...
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight