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“Shall I compare thee...?” and “My Mistress’ eyes...”

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"Shall I compare thee...?" and "My Mistress' eyes..." The purposes of these poems were to express feelings about love and eternity. I think that both these sonnets were written for private viewing. Though I do think that 'Shall I compare thee' could be for both private and public viewing because of the last couplet that says "So long as men can breath or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee" Therefore, he is saying that other people will read this in the future. Beginning a poem with "Shall I..." sounds more flattering and complimentary than "My mistress..." because by saying 'shall I' you are almost saying dare I compare the wonderful likes of you with an ordinary summers day. "My mistress..." just sounds bland and uncomplimentary. The sonnet consists of 14 lines, each with 10 stressed and unstressed syllables known as iambic pentameter. In each quatrain a different subject is discussed and described, the subject is then changed at the start of each new quatrain. ...read more.


However, he finds fault with his comparison. The summer's day is found to be less than perfect. In lines 2,3 and 4 he compliments the woman by saying that her beauty is more perfect than the beauty of a summer's day, as her beauty is more 'temperate' than an English summer. An English summer is often windy and short. "Thou art more temperate: Rough windes do shake the darling buds of Maie, And Sommers lease hath all too short a date:" With the beginning of the second quatrain, he describes how the sun in the summertime is less than perfect. He uses a metaphor to describe the sun; he calls it 'the eye of heaven'. Shakespeare tells of how the sun can be too hot in the summer and its light can be dimmed by clouds and overcast weather. "Sometimes too hot the eye of Heaven shines' And often his gold complexion dim'd, In Line 6, he uses personification to describe the sun. Shakespeare refers to the sun as 'he', giving the sun human qualities. ...read more.


"My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red, than her lips red." While the previous sonnet compares his love to a summer day, this one gets right to the point, his mistress is nothing like the sun, or as red as coral. Her breath "reeks," and there are no "roses in her cheeks." We begin to wonder why he chose this woman and why he writes so badly about her. However, Shakespeare assures us that all of this does not matter. After all, he is dealing with a real person, not a goddess. Also, it is his attitude of honesty that makes his love much more real and meaningful. While the comparisons are all negative, you get the impression that the writer is really saying his mistress does have a sweet voice, roses in her cheeks, coral lips, and is a goddess in his eyes. The last lines of the poem read, "And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare, As any she belied with false compare," Therefore, we know that he is really saying his love is rare, but he will not falsely compare her with things that she cannot possibly live up to. ...read more.

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