Analysis of Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare | Essay

Response to the analysis of Sonnet 130 has an iambic pentameter as the other sonnets of Shakespeare (Mabillard 2000). This confirms the sonnet Shakespearean in form although it greatly borrows from the Petrarchan form. The 14 lines sonnet has a rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef with an impeccably rhyming end couplet intended to create an enthusiastic masterpiece expressing the impression of chivalrous love common during Shakespeare’s time.

Ostensibly, the Conceit of the poem is the use of rhetoric words in comparing the earthly characteristics of Shakespeare’s woman. Observing the poem, Shakespeare indeed used the commonly used words in Petrarchan such as “snow,” “sun” and “roses” in exposing the reality (Shakespeare). Shakespeare’s point in the poem is to tell that his lady is nothing divine or perfect beauty as the Roman goddesses; he refers to her as a shady lady for her “dun” complexion. He was like mocking his lady by saying that she is nothing compared to the common description of perfect beauty in his time (Mabillard 2000). The Volta of the poem is when Shakespeare mentioned the word “yet” in the poem. In here, Shakespeare interconnected his unconditional love for his lady as well as a present parody that apparently besieges the sonnet.

On the difficult words used in the poem, “damask’d” is faintly vintage and incomprehensive for contemporary readers. Looking at oxford dictionary (2014), damask has undeniably a diverse meaning today compared to its Middle English meaning that was retrenchment of “damask rose,” implying that Shakespeare is not egotistical as might be perceived. Additionally, “dun” or “reek” should be considered instead of “belied” whose contextual meaning is apparently evident (Mabillard 2000).

The sonnet 130 is indeed a deviation from the common description of beauty during Shakespeare’s time. Sonnet 130 is challenging the idea of Petrarchan sonnet that speaks of spiritual beauty that is never achievable because of its imperfections. Thinking warily, it can be said that using grandiloquent words for the standard of gorgeousness is bigoted for humans especially if the beauty is skin deep. Shakespeare’s intention was not only to illustrate the concept of courtly love but also his perception of women, while his diction impeccably designates his intention to express his feelings and produce an idiosyncratic sonnet (Mabillard 2000). Shakespeare’s phrasing was not swayed by his superciliousness, but by his aspiration to uphold the uniqueness while preserving the envisioned message

Mabillard, A. (2000). Shakespearean Sonnet Basics: Iambic Pentameter and the English Sonnet Style [Internet], Shakespeare online. Available from [Accessed 3 May 2014]

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