Comparing and Contrasting Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 and Clause McKay's The Harlem Dancer

Comparing and Contrasting Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 and Clause McKay's The Harlem Dancer

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“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”- Kahlil Gibran. I am going to compare and contrast between “Sonnet 130”, by William Shakespeare and “The Harlem Dancer”, by Claude McKay. Both poems and sonnets are English and have fourteen lines or stanzas, and the rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG, which points out beauty in women.
A sonnet is a fixed patterned poem that expresses a single, complete thought or idea. Sonnet comes from the Italian word “sonetto”, which means “little song”. Poem, on the other hand, is English writing that has figurative language, and written in separate lines that usually have a repeated rhyme, but don’t all the time. The main and interesting thing is that these two poems or sonnets admire and compare the beauty of a specific woman, with tone, repetition, imagery, and sense of sound.
William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130”, was published in the mid-1590, and published with the rest of Shakespeare’s sonnets in 1609. The sonnet has fourteen lines, and divided into three quatrains and one couplet at the end. The rhyme scheme is cross rhyme, with the last two lines being couplets that rhyme. The sonnet compares between nature and the poets’ lover or mistress. He shows a more realistic view of his lover. Needless to say his significant other wasn’t physically attractive, yet he loved her inside beauty. Today we may use the term, “It’s not all about looks, but what’s inside”.
The speaker uses metaphors to describe his mistress’ eyes to being like the sun; her lips being red as coral; cheeks like roses; breast white as snow; and her voices sounding like music. In the first few lines of the sonnet, the speaker view and tells of his mistress as being ugly, as if he was not attracted to her. He give...


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...laws and all. The Harlem Dancer, McKay illustrates the scenery and admires the beauty of a prostitute as she puts on a show for the crowd, though he knows she is hiding her true feelings with smiles. Both views on the women are rare thoughts, being that other people don’t usually see the way these two poets illustrate. Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It’s about having a pretty mind, pretty heart, and most importantly, a beautiful soul.




Works Cited

Collier, Eugenia, Cary Nelson, and et al. N.p.. Web. 21 Feb 2014. .

Mabillard, A.. N.p.. Web. 21 Feb 2014. .

Verlinken, . N.p.. Web. 21 Feb 2014. .

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