Virtuous Love In Sidney's Sonnet 12 From Astrophil And Stella

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Poets have long ostensibly described virtuous love while shielding their more base desires with idyllic lyrics through blazon poetry. Sonnet 12 from Astrophil and Stella is one such poem by Sidney, as it seemingly depicts a pure admiration from afar, when in reality it reflects a more base conquest. This turns the poem into a dissection of physical attraction, making the subject not Stella, but the narrators own lust. The poem begins as though praising Cupid, when, in reality, Cupid stands in for the attraction the narrator feels for Stella. “Cupid, because thou shin’st in Stella’s eyes” (1) sets up the poem’s theme of complimenting Stella’s features, following the tradition of blazon poetry, complimenting her individual parts rather than seeing her as a whole.…show more content…
But, because it is the narrator providing this opinion and not Stella, it could be that the narrator is including this because he knows what he feels is wrong, and in the fantasy concocted through his writing he wishes to absolve himself of any wrong-doing. By having Stella say these things in the poem he is making it seem as though she is absolving him. The narrator even beautifies her voice as “her clear voice lifts thy fame to the skies” (8). The narrator has now connected Stella to Cupid in both body and voice, sexualizing every part of her. And yet, he still realizes that Stella is something that he cannot own, saying “thou contest Stella as thing” as though relinquishing any hold he might have had on her, realizing it was nothing compared with Cupid, who has the ability to “got up a breach by fighting well, / Cry, ‘Victory, this fair day all is ours!’” (10-11). So while Cupid is able to conquer her body, there remains a part of her unconquered, and previously unmentioned in the poem: her

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