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Analysis Of The Sonnet: My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun

870 words - 4 pages

Analysis of the Sonnet: My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun
The poem “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun” by William Shakespeare talks about how the speaker sees his mistress’ appearance. He describes this mistress using the traditionally used characteristics that make a woman beautiful. Instead of pointing out the best traits that makes his mistress physically beautiful, the speaker portrays his mistress in a more realistic way, with characteristics that are believable. The poet uses a specific style, a descriptive comparison method, to communicate his message.
This sonnet rhymes ababcdcdefefgg, which shows that it is a typical English sonnet as described by Vale (2010, ...view middle of the document...

However, the mistress’ breasts are described as “dun” (l 3), therefore dull. Roses are usually associated with beauty and romance; however, the speaker sees no such reflection on his mistress’ cheeks. The speaker also, rather crudely, describes his mistress’ breath; “And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks” (ll 7-8). Although the speaker acknowledges that he “love[s] to hear her speak,” (l 9) he does not regard her voice as the best sound in the world. He believes that “music hath a far more pleasing sound” than his mistress’ voice (l 10). Overall the speaker sees his mistress as a human being who “treads the ground” (l 12) just like any other human being, and not as a goddess.
After building this suspension, which kept the reader wondering whether the speaker loves his mistress or he hates her and wants to humiliate her, the poet made use of the last two lines (the couplet) to express the speaker’s feeling and affection toward his mistress. In the couplet, the speaker swears (“by heaven”) that he thinks of his mistress (“love”) as rare or as special as any other woman who is misrepresented with false comparison. And from what it seems, the false comparisons that the speaker refers to are the comparisons that he has opposed in the description of his mistress. For example, whereby a woman’s eyes would be compared to the sun, the woman’s cheeks would be compared to roses, or whereby a woman would be compared to a...

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