Shakespeare's sonnets - Short commentaries

In questo post troverete alcuni brevi commenti su sonetti di Shakespeare. Naturalmente provenienti dal polveroso archivio.


My Mistress’ Eyes

Shakespeare describes his lady using courtly imagery but she doesn’t reach that level of perfection.

Her eyes are compared to the Sun, but they are not as bright; her lips are not as red as coral; her breasts are not as white as snow; and so on.

The aim of this is to show that Love is not necessarily related to beauty, and that true Love is more important than exaggerated but false praises.

The structure of the poem is based upon Shakespeare’s typical scheme: three quatrains rhyming abab cdcd efef and a final rhyming couplet. This gives a strong emphasis to the couplet, where the poet’s opinion is summarised.  


Shall I compare thee

The poem opens with a conventional comparison in courtly poetry: that between the Lady and a summer’s day. The outcome is that she doesn’t present any of the excesses or the faults that a summer’s day has if it is described realistically. 

But nothing is eternal, except one thing: the power of Poetry, which will make the Lady’s Beauty immortal, as long as the poet’s lines survive.

The sonnet follows the Shakesperian scheme, but it also presents a shift in tone and subject between lines 8 and 9, which was a feature of the Petrarchan sonnet.


More commentaries coming soon...

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