Explication of Sonnet 130 in Comparison with Epithalamion

Explication of Sonnet 130 in Comparison with Epithalamion

Length: 562 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
"Sonnet 130," by William Shakespeare, is probably a mockery of love poems of his era which focus mainly on comparing the loved one to nature and heavenly characteristics. An example of such poems is "Epithalamion," by Edmund Spenser, which sticks to the conventionality of it's time. Shakespeare's style used conveys his love for his "mistress" in an honest and sincere way without "false compare," which makes it more acceptable than the poems of his time. He does not in anyway think of his love as a goddess or a heavenly creature, but in spite of that, his love "as rare," which makes it realistic and charming at the same time.

Shakespeare starts off the sonnet by describing his mistress' eyes as being "nothing like the sun." In his time comparing women's eyes to things of brightness and shininess, such as the sun, was a very common thing as noticed in Spenser's poem; "Her goodly eyes like sapphires shining bright." Shakespeare's mistress' lips have a far more faded red color than the color of Coral. Unlike Spenser's; who has "lips like cherries charming men to bite." Spenser claims his loved one's breasts are like "a bowl of cream uncurdled," which was another common practice; comparing a female's breasts to bright white things, such as snow. However, Shakespeare questions the fact that his mistress' breasts are dun colored; which again shows how his techniques stray away from traditionalism of his time. He also compares her hair to black wires, showing how unsmooth it looks and feels. Often around that era women's hair was compared to golden wires. The comparison here is not surprising to a reader of that time; it is shocking because of the fact that the wires are black.

Shakespeare goes on to saying that he has seen beautiful roses before, but he sees none on his mistress' cheeks. This is a contrast to Spenser's claim that "red roses flush up in her cheeks." Another commonly used comparison in poems of that time was that of roses to cheeks; which referred to youth and beauty. Traditionally during these days, the beloved's smell was, supposedly, better than any fragrant or perfume. Shakespeare admits that he has smelled perfumes that could not have been more delightful to his senses; saying they are better than the smell that "from [his] mistress reeks.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Explication of Sonnet 130 in Comparison with Epithalamion." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Jan 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

A Critical Comparison of Shakespeare's "Sonnet 130" and Elizabeth Barrett-Browning's "Sonnet 14"

- Petrarchan sonnets are like all the other typical sonnets in the early sixteenth which consist of 14 verses in the poem and 10 syllables per line. In comparison, they all instigate the traditional theme of love where women were admired and sometimes worshipped in order to express deep love that emissaries her beauty. However, Petrarchan sonnet could not said be too congruent to sixteenth style of writing sonnets. Nevertheless, they share identical theme in the sonnets which is the traditional theme of love where Petrarchan sonnets uses clichés in order to describe his mistress as “lucid gold” and her smile as “angelic smile”....   [tags: Sonnet 130, sonnet 14]

Research Papers
1338 words (3.8 pages)

Essay Explication Of Shakespeare 's Sonnets 20 And 130

- Explication of Shakespeare’s sonnets 20 and 130 William Shakespeare can be considered one of the greatest writers in English language of all time. He was born in Stratford in 1564 and it is well-known that he has written 38 plays, 154 sonnets and two long narrative poems. A widely held assumption is that he wrote his sonnets during the 1590s. Thus, they belong to the Elizabethan era, where literature was in one of the most splendid moments of the English literature. Consequently, William Shakespeare stands out in this period, not only for being a playwright, but also as a poet....   [tags: Poetry, Iambic pentameter, Sonnet, Rhyme scheme]

Research Papers
993 words (2.8 pages)

An Explination of Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 Essay

- “If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun” is a quote from Shakespeare’s sonnet 130 that compare’s Shakespeare’s mistress skin color to something that is unattractive for the time period of the sixteenth century. Shakespeare’s sonnet 130 ,“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,” mocks the traditional Petrarchan sonnet. It is questionable whether it mocks a certain Petrarchan sonnet or rather the whole idealized love object aspect of the Petrarchan tradition. Instead of being love sick and idolizing his lady, Shakespeare demeans his lady by comparing her to unattractive subjects by using similes and metaphors....   [tags: mocking, love, unattractive]

Research Papers
549 words (1.6 pages)

Essay on Comparison of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 and Sonnet 116

- Comparison of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 and Sonnet 116      William Shakespeare, in his Sonnet 73 and Sonnet 116, sets forth his vision of the unchanging, persistent and immovable nature of true love. According to Shakespeare, love is truly   "till death do us part," and possibly beyond.  Physical infirmity, the ravages of age, or even  one's partner's inconstancy have no effect upon the affections of one who sincerely loves.  His notion of love is not a romantic one in which an idealized vision of a lover is embraced.  Instead he recognizes the weaknesses to which we, as humans, are subject, but still asserts that love conquers all....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
968 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Explication of Sonnet 144

- Explication of a Sonnet Sonnet 144 In explication of sonnet 144 I would like to take a drastic change from what seems to be the common view of many in regards to who it is written about and the story behind it. I would like to state first of all that the straight facts about the sonnets are so few and that theories and debates are many. Doubt is cast over nearly every aspect of these sonnets. Arguments from when they were written, whom they were written to, why they were written, and even in many cases the question of who wrote them....   [tags: Poetry]

Research Papers
863 words (2.5 pages)

A Poetry Explication Essay

- A Poetry Explication "Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal [but] which the reader recognizes as his own." (Salvatore Quasimodo). There is something about the human spirit that causes us to rejoice in shared experience. We can connect on a deep level with our fellow man when we believe that somehow someone else understands us as they relate their own joys and hardships; and perhaps nowhere better is this relationship expressed than in that of the poet and his reader....   [tags: Shakespeare Sonnet Poem Essays]

Free Essays
1329 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on A Comparison of Ignorance in The Tempest and Sonnet 93

- Ignorance in The Tempest and Sonnet 93        Ignorance has been said to be bliss.  To equate appearance with reality is a facet of ignorance, and leads to a part of the bliss.  Many of Shakespeare's characters find the bliss of ignorance and revel in it, and some end up coming to terms with their gullibility.  Some few are unwilling to abandon their ignorance even when they can see real truth.  All are experiencing different stages of the human cycle.  Coming into the world, we are equipped with nothing more than recognition of appearance.  We must learn to the distinguish what is real from what is seen.  Those who have the opportunity to learn this difference will often deny the truth...   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Research Papers
948 words (2.7 pages)

An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 Essays

- An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73      Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare is widely read and studied. But what is Shakespeare  trying to say. Though it seems there will not be a simple answer, for a better understanding of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73, this essay offers an explication of the sonnet from The Norton Anthology of English Literature:                 That time of year thou mayst in me behold               When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang               Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,               Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang....   [tags: Sonnet essays]

Research Papers
1257 words (3.6 pages)

William Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 Essay examples

- Keeping love alive is not easy. One knows that life eventually comes to an end, but does love. Time passes and days must end. It is in "Sonnet 18", by Shakespeare, that we see a challenge to the idea that love is finite. Shakespeare shows us how some love is eternal and will live on forever in comparison to a beautiful summer's day. Shakespeare has a way of keeping love alive in "Sonnet 18", and he uses a variety of techniques to demonstrate how love is more brilliant and everlasting than a summer's day....   [tags: Shakespeare Sonnet]

Research Papers
935 words (2.7 pages)

Analysis of Sonnet 73 Essays

- [Line 1]* - 'that time of year' being late autumn or early winter. [Line 2]* - Compare the line to Macbeth (5.3.23) "my way of life/is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf". [Line 4]* - 'Bare ruin'd choirs' is a reference to the remains of a church or, more specifically, a chancel, stripped of its roof and exposed to the elements. The choirs formerly rang with the sounds of 'sweet birds'. Some argue that lines 3 and 4 should be read without pause -- the 'yellow leaves' shake against the 'cold/Bare ruin'd choirs' ....   [tags: Sonnet essays]

Research Papers
1683 words (4.8 pages)


Often the lover's voice was described as pleasant, smooth, and charming. Shakespeare states that he loves to listen to his lover speak. However, he goes on to saying that music has a far better delightful sound. The two statements express the opposites of their meanings. It is tempting to read it as if he finds his lover's voice better than music; which gives it a stronger twist and a better implication. He is saying that he loves to hear her speak although he knows very well that her voice is not the best of voices, and that music definitely has a far better sound. This gives the sonnet its own unique sincere sweetness.

Women's description as goddesses and heavenly creatures was also another commonly used comparison. Shakespeare realizes that his love does not in anyways resemble a goddess. He makes it clear that when she walks, her feet touch the ground. This is contradictive to how goddesses are supposed to walk. They fly, keeping their feet from ever touching the ground. He stays honest about how he sees his mistress; pointing out all of her average human features.

Shakespeare's beloved is not a goddess. She touches the ground when she walks. Her eyes do not look like the sun. Her lips are of a faded red color. Her breasts are not as white as snow; but dun. Her hair is not smooth and silky. Her cheeks are not red. Her breath reeks. Her voice does not have a pleasing sound. However, despite all of his mistress' flaws, his love for her could not be any greater, or "rare[r]." She is physically unattractive, yet she is very irresistible in his eyes.

Shakespeare's techniques most definitely do not remain faithful to his era's conventional techniques. Unlike Spenser, who goes on describing and--for the most part and obvious--falsely flattering his lover, Shakespeare honestly evokes how he views his mistress. His description is realistic. It does not throw the reader off by getting them to think that the beloved is some kind of a perfect creature that no human can measure up to or resemble. It also has a twist to it, which gives the sonnet a unique flow and keeps it from being tedious and uninteresting.

Return to 123HelpMe.com