Daniel’s Sonnet 6 vs. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130

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Daniel’s “Sonnet 6” vs. Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130”

Daniel wrote a conventional love sonnet using the traditional Petrarchan style of putting the idea of love, or the mistress, on a pedestal. Shakespeare turned these ideas on their heads by portraying a mistress who was by no means special and most certainly unappealing. By comparing Daniel's “Sonnet 6” and Shakespeare's “Sonnet 130,” one may quickly conclude that Daniel’ s and Shakespeare’s ideas of the perfect lady and of love differ greatly..

During Daniel's time there was a traditional way of writing love poems. Many of these poems talked of an unattainable woman whose love and perfection was so great she could only be considered to be divine. This is exactly what Daniel did. He wrote of an idea of what the perfect love would be using metaphors. Daniel uses metaphors that related to something of great power or energy, such as the sun, writing "although her eyes are sunny." Daniel uses the sun to compliment the mystical sense of his mistress. When Daniel talks of the eyes, he is explaining the power that can be seen in her eyes. This of course is not a realistic portrayal of a woman, but rather an idea of the kind of love that is so powerful, so heavenly that it is unattainable. Daniel tries to prove that his mistress has a love so powerful and deep that it can only be an idea. When many people think of an idea of love that is perfect, many would say that women of purity and beauty would be the perfect woman. Daniel states this thought when he says "Chastity and Beauty, which were deadly foes." Here Daniel says that his mistress is pure, innocent, and beautiful. He is asking the reader to find a woman that perfect. There also seems to be r...

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...false compare that their love is truer than his. Shakespeare does not need to falsely compare his woman to someone divine. He expresses his lady as being simple and able to accept his true love.

With his use of traditional Petrarchan writing, Daniel paints a perfect idea of a woman, one who is immortal and unattainable. Shakespeare, on the other hand mocks this style of writing and creates a vision of a more human woman who has flaws and is anything but perfect. In conclusion, these two writers have different views on what true love is, and the kind of woman they admire. Neither way is wrong, but are simply two contrasting ways of expressing how a man looks at a woman.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones. New York: Thomson Learning, 1997.

(Teacher’s Handout for Daniel’s Sonnet 6)
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