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Are the declarations of love explored in Sonnet 139 and Before You Were Mine sentimental or real?

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Introduction

Are the declarations of love explored in Sonnet 139 and Before You Were Mine sentimental or real? Both the poems explore different degrees of love. Before You Were Mine presents a familial love found in the relationship of a mother and daughter, and the other, of love between a man and his mistress. But both the poems are linked together by its display of 'true' love. The authenticity of the love between Duffy and her mum is present right from the start, as a relationship between parent and child is seldom fake. Typically a relationship like this tends to be of selflessness and loving each other no matter what, and this is proven from the beginning when Duffy imagines her mother in different stages of her life, loving her all the same throughout each. On the other hand, Shakespeare's relation with his mistress holds a much more exciting tone. Unlike familial love, his is of an illicit manner, a secret affair built on raw desires as we learn in the very first line where he refers to her as 'My mistress'. Therefore he is able to prove the validity of his relation through the use of humour and parody, like in the line : ''My mistresses' eyes are nothing like the sun.'' ...read more.

Middle

This idea is built upon when she says 'You reckon it's worth it.' Not only does this line hold a tone of confidence of her thoughts, it also directly addresses her mum and displays a sisterly bond. The regular stanza pattern also seems to build on the idea of 'real' love as no advanced techniques of poetry are used. This contrasts the use of a traditional sonnet structure, equipped with the Iambic Pentameter that Shakespeare uses. The choice of using this structure emphasises his genuine love as Sonnets are typically about love poems. But ironically, the content of the Sonnet is as unorthodox of a love poem as possible. Shakespeare's intention in this is to strip away all the pretences of love found in love poem's formed by excessive uses of clich�s like 'her voice being sweeter than music', parody it: ''music hath a far more pleasing sound,'' and present the audience with the residue; genuine love. After all she is a mere mortal like the rest of us, not a 'goddess.' He continues taking more clich�s found in typical love poetry than turning it around to make a mockery out of it; 'Coral is far more red than her lips' red.' ...read more.

Conclusion

This religious reference shows an almost reverential love for her mother and implies that she is holy, perhaps even an angel. In this paragraph though, we find the first sad undertones of this poem. She says 'your ghost clatters toward me' and thus implying the exciting, loud and easy-to-be-fond-of character that she romanticized throughout the poem, is now dead. This feeling of nostalgia though is balanced out when her mother is shown to still contain the youth she once used to have by doing the 'Cha cha cha!' and teaching her little girl 'the steps on the way home from Mass.' Yet the poem is left on a sad note. The poet is seen to be left desiring the 'girl winking in Portobello' for her mother, not the stressed, grey-haired mother she might be right now. But the excitement and glamour built throughout the poem clearly overrides this and the poem is ultimate one of celebration not sorrow. And just like Shakespeare's Sonnet 130, Before You Were Mine is another poem that exposes genuine love. Similar to Shakespeare's 'stripping away' of all pretences in love, Duffy strips away her role as a daughter in the two's relationship, and solely focuses on just her mother's life and celebrating it grandly, and by doing so she displays a pure, completely selfless and unconditional love. Shamdyad Khan 11P ...read more.

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