English and Literature
Submitted By zaesongz
From time immemorial poems expressing love and beauty have always been a common theme. Lovers are always portrayed on a pedestal, possessing ethereal, goddess-like qualities. However, in “Sonnet 130,” by William Shakespeare, metaphoric contrast is used to depict his mistress as a rare natural beauty. Shakespeare ridicules the traditional expression of love, while successfully expressing his own. The rhyme scheme of this sonnet follows an abab cdcd efef gg pattern. As a “Shakespearean” sonnet, it is organized into three quatrains of four lined stanzas and a closing couplet of two rhyming lines. The meter follows the rise and fall of natural speech with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable known as an iamb. In this sonnet there are ten syllables, or five feet, per line following the iambic pattern, thus a pentameter. In this way the poem is able to flow smoothly and naturally when read aloud. At first it seems like any other love poem: 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.
The first line is deceiving for the reader, as one expects to hear about her supernatural beauty. However, the succeeding lines confirm that although his mistress is ordinary when compared to the sun, coral, and snow — she is not as beautiful as these things. In fact, she is quite the opposite, with dark eyes, pale lips, brown breasts, and black hair. There is no room for subtlety, only frankness and a humorous or derisive tone, almost satirical. The second quatrain uses two line comparisons of beauty instead of one line comparisons used in the first stanza: I have seen roses damask’d, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; Andin…...