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Shakespeare the satire -

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Christopher Pierce ENG 102 10/15/2004 Paper #2 Shakespeare the Satire Many authors compose sonnets about women whom they loved. Most of these authors embellish their women's physical characteristics by comparing them to natural wonders that we, as humans, find beautiful. Shakespeare's "My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun" contradicts this idea, by stating that his mistress lacks most of the qualities other men wrongly praise their women for possessing. Shakespeare presents to one that true love recognizes imperfections and feels devotion regardless of flaws, while satirically expressing his personal thoughts on Petrarchan sonnets. Through the use of comparisons, the English sonnet and an anti-Petrarchan approach, he creatively gets his point across. "My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun" uses comparisons to express Shakespeare's idea of love as opposed to lust. A lustful man would focus on a woman's pleasing physical characteristics, such as white breasts, beautiful hair, red lips, and fragrant breath; however, Shakespeare's mistress possesses none of these great characteristics. ...read more.


A Shakespearean sonnet "is organized into three quatrains and a couplet, which typically rhyme abab cdcd efef gg" (Meyer, p.917). Additionally, within these sonnet styles "the most pronounced break or turn comes with the concluding couplet" (Meyer, p.917). The consistency of rhyme scheme helps underscore Shakespeare's thoughts by emphasizing certain words. Looking at the first two lines of each quatrain and comparing the rhyme with the second two lines of the quatrain, one may see some interesting pairing of words. "Sun" (line 1) and "red" (line 2) versus "dun" (line 3) and "head" (line 4), "white" (line 5) and "cheeks" (line 6) versus "delight" (line 7) and "reeks" (line 8) and finally "know" (line 9) and "sound" (line 10) versus "go" (line 11) and "ground" (line 12). The words completing the first two lines in each quatrain, when paired together, describe something pleasant while the words paired in the second two lines describe something unpleasant. ...read more.


This approach has a resounding affect by producing a realistic character for one to relate to, since most everyone possesses some sort of physical flaw. The enhancements also cause one to question why someone would talk about their loved one in such a negative manner, making them focus primarily on the lacking, yet lustful, physical attributes of his mistress. When he writes "And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare as any she, belied with false compare." (lines 13-14) in the final couplet, one responds with an enlightened appreciation, making them understand Shakespeare's message that true love consists of something deeper than physical beauty. Shakespeare expresses his ideas in a wonderful fashion. Not only does he express himself through direct interpretation of his sonnet, but also through the levels at which he styled and produced it. One cannot help but appreciate his message of true love over lust, along with his creative criticism of Petrarchan sonnets. "My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun" truly shows why many regard Shakespeare as a literary genius. ?? ?? ?? ?? Pierce 1 ...read more.

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