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Critical Appreciation Of Sonnet 130

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In Shakespeare’s sonnet 130, the speaker ponders the beauty, or the lack thereof, of his lover. Throughout the sonnet, the speaker presents his lover as an unattractive mistress with displeasing features, but in fact, the speaker is ridiculing, through the use of vivid imagery, the conventions of love poems and the way woman are portrayed through the use of false comparisons. In the end, the speaker argues that his mistress may not be perfect, but in his eyes, her beauty is equal to any woman who is abundantly admired and put through the untrue comparison.
The speaker paints a picture of his lovers’ uninspiring beauty. In the first quatrain by describing his, “mistress’ eyes” (Shakespeare 1) as they, “are nothing like the sun” (Shakespeare
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He revolves around her cheeks and mouth, as he has not “seen roses damasked, red and white, / but no such see I in her cheeks” (Shakespeare 5-6). The picture the speaker is painting is one of his mistress having a dull complexion with an undesirable texture. His vivid use of imagery further aids in his satirical mocking of the conventional sonnets falsely comparing women to grand things, which in this case to a soft red rose. In the second quatrain, the speakers tone starts to change as the langue he uses to describe his mistress differs. His language in the second and third quatrain’s is more euphonious when he describes his mistress, indicating that he feels for her, and the flaws that he lists are only skin deep. Following the depiction of her cheeks the speaker goes on listing her flaws, one after the other; he comments how the “breath” (Shakespeare 8) of his “mistress reeks,” (Shakespeare 8) to her her “dun” (Shakespeare 3) breast and her displeasing “damasked” (Shakespeare 5) skin. It seems that the speaker is doing the exact opposite of a conventional love poem as he’s not placing the beauty of a mistress on a pedestal, rather he lowers her in beauty in the eye of reader by describing, in detail, her lack of beauty, aiding in his ridiculing of the conventional love…show more content…
He compares her voice to music as he, “loves to hear her speak, yet well [he] know / [t]hat music hath a far more pleasing sound” (Shakespeare 9-10), as no voice would be as pleasant as music, further ridiculing the conventional love poem. The tone of the speaker changes in the final quatrain, as he loves the way she speaks but, her sound is not as pleasant as music. The speaker’s appreciation of his mistress is made apparent, as his comparisons are not as harsh in the third quatrains when compared to the first two quatrains. The flaws he depicts almost begins to idealize his mistress. Work our way through the sonnet he begins to half-heartedly glamourizes her beauty and we come to know, to him her flaws are what makes her beautiful and his love for his mistress beings to reveal its self. From the way the speaker speaks in the final rhyming couplet we see the speaker acknowledging her true beauty as all her flaws are not enough to put him off, as he lists all her imperfections but does not complain, rather he seems to admire them as his “love as rare” (Shakespeare 13) as any “belied” (Shakespeare 13) false
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