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Compare and contrast Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 with Benjamin Zephanaiah’s “Miss World”

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Introduction

Compare and contrast Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 with Benjamin Zephanaiah's "Miss World" Both poets discuss the treatment of women within their world. In each case, they indicate their disgust with the way men behave. Shakespeare's sonnet offers a mocking tone to the courtly gentlemen of his day whilst Zephanaiah's tone is more angry. Shakespeare writes to a strict ABAB rhyming pattern within the fourteen line sonnet structure. Benjamin Zephanaiah however does not stick to any sort of standard rhyming pattern and the poem is not written in a regular western structure, more so in a reggae rhythm. The effect Shakespeare obtains from this structure is one of a mordant tone. The audience of the time would have expected a poem of love like Bartholomew Griffin's "Fiddesa". The audience expects "My mistress' eyes" to be described as on a level with the warm brightness of the sun, and are stunned to read "nothing like the sun". ...read more.

Middle

When he says, "judge" I do not think he is only referring to the judges of these so called "Miss World" beauty pageants but anybody that is judgemental in this way. Every person on the planet has judged somebody at some time in his or her lives, so does everybody deserve to die? It becomes apparent that Zephanaiah is also unhappy with other types of persecutions, namely racism. Zephanaiah makes several references to slavery and how his sister "don't want to go to the market to be viewed like a slave" and be viewed like her ancestors were, like second class citizens. He carefully intertwines womanhood and slavery. He is clearly referring to women that have been forced to become prostitutes in the red light districts of the world. ...read more.

Conclusion

The difference in effect is a much angrier feeling to the more modern of the two poems. Neither one of the poems describes the female as a woman, lady or even wife. Shakespeare uses "mistress". Mistress' are associated with power and control; they are on a level with any male equivalents. Zephanaiah uses the word "sister". Again he is trying to show the female as an equal to the male. In both poems this has the same effect; the female is treated in the same way as a man. Both poets are trying to give a certain amount of respect to women. Both poems feature the same basic themes of sexual discrimination, the only difference being the tone they are written in. Sonnet 130 is written to mock the poets of the time whilst "Miss World" is written in resentment and exasperation. Raj Purewal GCSE English Created on 30/10/2001 21:00 Page 1 of 2 Length- 720 Words ...read more.

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