Sonnet 130-lesson

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shakespeare sonnet 130 lesson

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  • Shakespeare wrote over 20 poems about the Dark Lady who remains a mysterious figure. We try and build up a picture of her from the poem. Images of the authors are courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin.
  • What effect does this line have on the reader? “ My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;” Does it make us wonder what her eyes are like?
  • Is he disparaging his mistress or do these lines enhance the idea of unconventional beauty?
  • Sonnet 130-lesson

    1. 1. Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare An unconventional love poem about the “Dark Lady” http://marrasouk.com
    2. 2. What is a sonnet? <ul><li>A sonnet is a 14 line poem which traditionally is used as a way to declare love for someone – you say brilliant things about them and tell them how much you love them! </li></ul><ul><li>What sort of things would you put in a sonnet? Think of ways to compliment someone – did they feature in your original list of love poetry? </li></ul><ul><li>Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets. The lady spoken about in this sonnet is featured in Sonnets 127 to 154. she is known as ‘The Dark Lady’ </li></ul><ul><li>Early sonnets are based on the Petrachan model (which follows a different rhyme scheme), however, the focus of the sonnet remains the same – idolising the woman and making her an ‘inspiration’. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damask'd, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare. A sonnet: 14 lines iambic pentameter carefully patterned rhyme scheme. Often used in love poetry; Its perfect form could be seen to reflect the perfect nature of love and romance The iambic pentameter is similar to a heartbeat. Try reading it!
    4. 4. <ul><li>My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; A </li></ul><ul><li>Coral is far more red than her lips' red; B </li></ul><ul><li>If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; A </li></ul><ul><li>If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. B </li></ul><ul><li>I have seen roses damask'd, red and white, C </li></ul><ul><li>But no such roses see I in her cheeks; D </li></ul><ul><li>And in some perfumes is there more delight C </li></ul><ul><li>Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. D </li></ul><ul><li>I love to hear her speak, yet well I know E </li></ul><ul><li>That music hath a far more pleasing sound; F </li></ul><ul><li>I grant I never saw a goddess go; E </li></ul><ul><li>My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: F </li></ul><ul><li>And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare G </li></ul><ul><li>As any she belied with false compare. G </li></ul>Notice the rhyme scheme – ABAB and then ends in a rhyming couplet.
    5. 5. In a conventional love poem the writer would exaggerate how beautiful his mistress is: http://marrasouk.com My mistress' eyes are more fantastic than the sun; But in his unconventional love poem Shakespeare underplays how beautiful his mistress is: My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; He has turned around the convention of exaggerated praise “ nothing” is a criticism Eyes and lips are traditionally compared and are features of female beauty A traditional comparison
    6. 6. He carries on with the unconventional approach in the next lines http://marrasouk.com Coral is far more red than her lips' red Pink-orange colour Conventional desirable feature Her lips aren't red If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun Grey, brown colour The conventional Something of a cliche Is he saying she is not beautiful or is he saying she is beautiful in a different way? Can we answer this or do we need to read on?
    7. 7. In the next lines he moves on to describe other physical features http://marrasouk.com If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. Gold wires were used in head-dress and compared to golden hair Blondes were more highly rated So she is not conventionally beautiful I have seen roses damask'd, red and white mixed But she doesn’t have this complexion But no such roses see I in her cheeks; Hair was often compared to golden wires or threads, so he’s saying her hair looks ugly! A woman would usually be compared to something like a rose What is he saying here? Would you be offended at this point?
    8. 8. The author moves from how she looks to how she smells http://marrasouk.com And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. Smells- the word didn’t have a negative meaning in Shakespeare’s time He’s not saying the smell of her breath is unpleasant - just that perfume smells sweeter In conventional love poems you would say her breath was sweeter than perfume But Shakespeare takes an unconventional approach “ reeks” would not have been as insulting then but still quite rude! It was part of the courtly tradition of love to declare (and believe) that the goddess whom one adored had virtually no human qualities.
    9. 9. The next feature is the sound of her voice http://marrasouk.com I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; He’s not being critical of her voice: all he’s saying is that music has a more pleasing sound In the conventional love poem the writer would say that her voice was sweeter than music A turning point in the poem – he actually likes something about her!! A direct statement; he would rather listen to his mistress than music, even though music sounds superior. Why is her voice not perfect? What reservations has Shakespeare still got? And where is this shown?
    10. 10. The poet describes how his mistress walks http://marrasouk.com I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: I admit to you I’ve never seen a goddess walk My mistress walks like anyone else, on the ground, rather than floating through the air He’s stressing his mistress is no goddess. In a conventional love poem she would be described as a goddess However, divine comparisons are not relevant, for his beloved is beautiful without having to be a Goddess. He is being REALISTIC about her.
    11. 11. So does the poet think that his mistress is beautiful or what? http://marrasouk.com The last 2 lines tell us And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare. exceptional Direct statement, telling us what he thinks For emphasis She is as beautiful as any woman who is praised with false comparisons The poet thinks she’s beautiful but doesn’t want to describe her in a cliched way. This exclamation shows real feeling, he does love her after all. Any woman Ends in a rhyming couplet The last two lines are inset, making them stand out.
    12. 12. A sonnet has 14 lines http://marrasouk.com The first 12 lines are 3 quatrains Groups of 4 lines My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. rhyme scheme ABAB With a closing couplet And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare. Sums things up
    13. 13. <ul><li>And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare G </li></ul><ul><li>As any she belied with false compare. G </li></ul>The rhyme scheme emphasises the rhyming couplet at the end; this is where the true nature of his feelings is revealed. Shakespeare is mocking clichés; he wants to show real love as something deeper than a string of unrealistic compliments. Shakespeare is breaking the tradition of love poetry; the idea of courtly love is replaced with something more ‘real’, more genuine.
    14. 14. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare. <ul><li>The poet is satirising the tradition of comparing one’s love to all things beautiful, divine and immortal. </li></ul><ul><li>He makes many negative comparisons. </li></ul><ul><li>But these final lines suggest that she is beyond all these things just by being herself: mortal and approachable. </li></ul><ul><li>Rare = precious, superb, of fine and unusual quality </li></ul><ul><li>He thinks that his love is more special, than those which are based on superficial comparisons. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Sonnet 130 My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress when she walks treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare. Rhyming couplet, gives the feeling of conclusion Is this a positive or negative impression? Simile commonly used in an over-exaggerated way by writers of sonnets Brown colour Mockery of usual romantic images Damask is a cloth with a pattern woven in to it, what might it mean here? Breathed out, but also connotations of foul smelling Regular number of syllables per line She walks on earth, the sky was the realm of goddesses Gave wrong impression of Turns all the negative in to positive

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