Sonnet 130

Sonnet 130 is one of Shakespeare’s works that really stood out to me since the first time I
read it a couple years ago in my British literature class at my local community college. One of the aspects that I like about this sonnet in particular is how Shakespeare veered away from the commonly used female beauty standards that appeared in many pieces of literature around that time period. Women were normally depicted as being goddesses, and being the ideal form of perfection. The comparisons commonly made such as having skin as fair as snow, rosy cheeks, a voice like music, etc. are completely unrealistic, and out of touch with reality. Whereas, in sonnet 130 Shakespeare does not make this comparisons. Instead he uses all of the popular comparisons, and states that his mistress does not have any of those things. In doing so the way he describes his mistress can be seen as quite cruel and unflattering. Naturally most women would not be all that pleased by being told they have wiry hair, bad breath, and a not so pleasant voice. However, I find it to be extremely heartwarming in the sense that even though her voice is not as lovely as the sound of music he still loves to hear her speak. As well as the fact even though she does not have all of these beautiful features she is still considered lovely, and that she is unique. I just find it so interesting that this sonnet at first glance appears to be so cruel towards the female it focuses on, yet it gives off such a loving feel at the same time because no matter what she looks like there is no one that quite compares to her. Overall, I really love this sonnet because I find it to be pretty unique and kind of humorous. Personally this is a piece of literature that has stuck with me, and is something that I find to stand out over the rest.

~Geena Ausburn

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