ENGA203 Essay 3





ENGA203 Essay 3

Shakespeare was well known in his expressions of love and beauty. He delighted in praising those he loved and he often tried to compare them to what was familiar to him. This is clearly seen in his sonnets. Sonnets 18 and 130 are some of his most famous. They speak in honor of his beloved. He does not take the time to reveal the beloved to his audience, but he explains the emotions he feels towards them in the sonnets. Nature was a common theme in Shakespeare’s work and it is evident in the two poems. However, the way that he uses nature in both poems makes it clear that the poet has grown in his perception of beauty and love. The poems compare in their use of nature as a basis of comparison but they contrast on the way the speaker represents it and on the way that he chooses to display his love and sentiments to his beloved.

Shakespeare describes the beauty of his beloved in sonnet 18. His beloved is so beautiful that the poet does not consider it justifiable to compare him to the summer. The summer is a pleasant period for most but this is not sufficient for the poet. He feels that his beloved deserves more than that. He is certainly more loving and temperate. His beloved does not burn as much as the summer sun and neither is his complexion hidden by the clouds. He feels that the verses in the poem will help in establishing an everlasting legacy for his beloved. This means that his beauty shall not fade and neither shall death take control of him. He says, “but thy eternal summer s hall not fade nor lose possession of that fair ow’st (Shakespeare 39).” it is clear that the poet regards his beloved highly. He thinks that he is much more beautiful than anything he has ever seen in nature.

By the time he writes sonnet 130, Shakespeare had undergone through some changes. He did not think of beauty in the same manner. From the poem, it is clear that he did not see it as a condition for love or attachment. In this poem, he does think that some of the elements in nature can exceed his mistress. This is clear when he says “coral is far more red than her lips’ red (Shakespeare 269).” He goes beyond the beauty of nature and he even includes other factors that are not considered as beautiful. For instance, he compares his beauty’s hair with that of wires. He thinks that some perfumes smell better than his beloved and he does not think that her cheeks look anything like the red roses. In addition, he does not think highly of her voice because he is of the perception that music is much better and sweeter.

The two poems are clearly a step away from each other in their representation of the speaker’s point of interest. Although the speaker depends on nature in both cases, he does so under different terms. In the first sonnet, he thinks that nature is not sufficient, or that it does not even qualify to describe his beloved. His object of interest is more interesting and much more beautiful than nature can ever express. In the second sonnet, the speaker contends that nature is much more appealing in its representation. However, this is not to mean that she is not beautiful. Shakespeare admits that his love is rare. She might not meet all the qualifications that nature has to offer, but she is certainly one of a kind. Comparing her to nature does not do her any form of justice and such comparison is not real.

Both poems are similar because the poet compares the object of his attention to something. In both, the speaker uses nature as his point of focus. In sonnet 130, he mentions the sun, corals, snow, roses, and goddesses. In sonnet 18, he mentions the summer, the winds, buds, and death. However, despite this, the poet uses all his efforts to resist comparing his beloved to what he has already identified (Zettelmann and Rubik 220). For instance, he compares his beloved to a summer’s day but still shows refrain when doing so by showing that the summer day is not adequate. He says that the eyes of his mistress are nothing like the sun yet he goes ahead to make comparisons between the two.

The differences in the poem are an indication of the speaker’s maturity. They are a reflection of his passage from shallowness of the external appearance to a willingness to observe more deeply and appreciate what may not be appealing physically. It also shows a growth in the terms of love described. The speaker in sonnet 130 is confident and assured of his beloved. He is secure in the love he has for her. At the same time, he seems confident that his beloved will not be fazed by such minor elements as his description for her. She seems to have accepted her fate and lack of standard beauty. It is clear that he is speaking of a person who is more mature and secure in his love. The kind of relationship and love that the two of them have is certainly unconventional (Ward 293). This contrasts with the kind of love and the type of person that the speaker addresses in sonnet 18. Sonnet 18 borders more on the conventional love in which the lovers delight in expressing false sentiments to each other. They do not shy away from controversies when it comes to expressing the love they have for each other. They will exaggerate the emotions they feel for each other. They do this in the hope of pleasing each other.

The speaker clearly exaggerates when he says that his beloved’s beauty shall not fade despite the passage of time. He does not even consider death a hindrance or obstacle of the beauty he so expresses. Sonnet 130 is a representation of reality rather than idealism. It defies all traditional logic and understanding of love as being based and found on beauty. Hence, the speaker tries not to use conventional natural forms of nature when comparing his beloved’s beauty. Sonnet 18 is more of a fantasy and an ideal. The speaker uses the conventional to communicate the idea and message that he is speaking of conventional love. However, it is clear that the speaker thinks more of the love he feels in sonnet 130, since he ends it by reaffirming his love despite the negative attributes of his beloved.

The two poems compare in their speakers decision to talk about his beloved. In both poems, the speaker uses nature and its different elements as a basis for his comparison but he finds them inadequate to express the depth of his emotions. Moreover, the two poems compare in the sense that they are both comparison poets whereby the speaker begins resisting the idea of comparing but ends up doing so anyway. The two poems are different in the sense that they both address beauty in diverse ways. In sonnet 18, the speaker addresses the beauty of his object of interest in the conventional way. In sonnet 130, the speaker chooses to digress from the traditional expression of beauty and he uses unconventional means of displaying his love to his beloved.

Works Cited:

Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare’s Sonnets. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011. Print

Ward, Jean E. Shakespeare: An Homage To. Lulu.com, 2008. Print

Zettelmann, Eva M. and Margarete, Rubik. Theory into Poetry: New Approaches to the Lyric. New York: Rudopi, 2005. Print

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