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Shakespeare's Sonnet 130


            Shakespeare's Sonnets, a collection of over one hundred poems, are widely considered to be some of the most insightful and powerful poems of all time. His one hundred and thirtieth Sonnet - "My mistress" eyes are nothing like the sun" is no exception. Shakespeare, who was one of the first developers of the English Sonnet, used the highly rigid form and structure of the poem to create meaning and emphasize the arguments he wanted to make. His use of structure, unique language as well as Rhyme and Rhythm and numerous other effects all contributed towards developing the meaning, form and content of the poem. .
             "My mistress" eyes are nothing like the sun" is a poem in which Shakespeare forms an argument against conventions to flatter one's lover with praise of her beauty as well as make comments about the way that love between two people can be expressed and interpreted. He uses the example of a woman who is not physically perfect to emphasise that love is deeper and more important than these superficial comparisons. While his mistress may not have had silky hair and sweet breath, he is still completely captivated by her and considers his love to be as rare as any other. .
             The structure of the sonnet is in the form of a eight-line octet followed by a six-line sestet. In the octet, Shakespeare presents the opposing argument and dabbles with comparing his mistress to the usual objects. In each case, a picture of a perfect woman is presented and then quickly taken away and replaced by one which is less attractive. For example, the line "If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun" instantly presents us with a picture of a beautiful, snow-white woman - probably because we are so accustomed to love poems describing exactly that - but then that picture suddenly vanishes, leaving us with a woman with dull, dark breasts. Using this technique, we develop quickly a picture of a woman whose physical appearance leaves much to be desired.


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