Monday, February 14, 2011
Celebrating Valentine's Day while studying Shakespeare can be awesome!! There is plenty of material to fit the mood of anybody on Valentine's Day. There is extremely ushy gushy romantic, depressing, suicidal, and lonely material to draw from. Probably the most used of Shakespeare's works on February 14 would be Sonnet 116. However I prefer Sonnet 130.
Sonnet 130 is somewhat humorous, but when taken seriously, I believe it to be the most romantic and sweet.
The way Shakespeare sets up this poem, structurally, is very appealing to the reader and is easy to follow and understand. Shakespeare begins with the eyes, then goes to the lips, body, even breath of his mistress comparing his mistress with what some would consider ideal physical attributes. He compares the physcial attributes to natural beauty found in nature, such as snow, coral, roses. He makes similes, metaphors and images such as eyes like the sun, coral red lips, rosy cheeks. After pointing out that his mistress doesn't have any of these ideal physical attributes, he confesses that he has a rare love for her in the final couplet.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grown on her head.
I have seen roses demasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.