Analysis of Sonnet 130


In this slightly odd sonnet, he compares his beloved to everything under the sun. This was a typical gesture. He makes her seem almost unlovable, but then one sees that to him, her voice is music and everything about her is wonderful. She tops any goddess in her mortal beauty and approachability. Sonnet 130 is an octet about the fact that true love is more than skin deep.


"My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;" From the very beginning of the poem, one see’s the traditional comparison of a woman to the sun or anything under it. Shakespeare has also used this in his sonnets about youth. Coral is thought to be one of the most precious stones to come from the depths of the Red Sea. But in all actuality, red was the only rouge available. The use of ‘coral’ is monotony. "If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;" It was considered fashionable in the days for women to have breasts as white as snow or ivory. His mistress’ breasts were not of a pearl‑ish coloring, but of a dingy brown. It is quite possibly an attempt to witness the true beauty of a woman; who she is and not the amount of powder on her breast. Hair was often referred to as wires and it was expected to be blonde and cherubic. It is something of an astonishment that she would have black hair.


"But no such roses see I in her cheeks;" Though the red, white, and demasked flowers are beautiful, they are nothing compared to the life in roses he sees in her face. "Than in the breath form my mistress reeks." In most sonnets, a man was to love everything about the woman he chose to be with. He was to think of her as more of a goddess than a woman who possesses human qualities. All of her qualities were supposed to be the most divine. He expresses that her breath is not the most heavenly. In line eight, he says, "than in the breath that from my mistress reeks." This statement is right on track with her "dun breasts" and "black wiry hair." Simply put, her breath is foul!


" I love to hear her speak, yet well I know that music hath a far more pleasing sound." By saying that music would be more pleasant than listening to his dearest, but because he derives such pleasure from hearing her speak, it invokes in others the true love and adoration he feels for her. In the ancient world, encounters with Gods and Goddesses were often reported as well as believed. "My mistress, when she walks treads on the ground." Though the rules of courtly love insinuate that man is supposed to view his love as a goddess, he says that he has not seen a goddess walk. He states that though his lovely is beautiful to him, she is not a goddess. She does not need to be a Goddess to possess the beauty that she does.


"And Yet by Heaven, I think my love as rare, as any she belied with false compare." Despite the fact that his grace is not beautiful, and nowhere near a goddess, he loves her and knows that his love is true. He cares for her as though she were Cleopatra herself. She is as any woman who has been falsely portrayed.


Most sonnets tend to be somewhat superficial in that if they are to deal with love, it is of how gorgeous a woman is, and how one cannot have her or misses her. Sonnet 130 shows the other side of love, the true side that is free from lust and passion.