Essay on The Significance and Involvedness of Sonnet 130

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Many refer to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” as the ultimate English love poem (Shakespeare). This sonnet is of the typical form and compares the beauty of a person to a summer’s day. However, Shakespeare’s unique Sonnet 130 is debatably more significant and insightful. Sonnet 130 “My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun” disregards the typical placement of the “volta” in a sonnet, describes an arguably more genuine love, and derides common love poetry of the 1600s.
The Petrarchan sonnet influenced the English sonnet Shakespeare used. The Petrarchan sonnet has fourteen lines and is separated into an octet and a sestet. The English sonnet also has fourteen lines, but it is separated into three quatrains and a couplet. The Petrarchan has a turning point at line nine meaning there is a change in tone or refocus of idea that leads one to the final theme. The turning point is known as the “volta” an Italian for “turn.” Accordingly, Shakespeare’s English Sonnet 18 has a “volta” at line nine, the first line of the third quatrain. The placement of the turn at line nine is common but not mandatory for the English sonnets. For example, Sonnet 130 has a turn at line 13. Sonnet 130 expands on a metaphor for the three quatrains; it tells what the mistress is not comparable to, without hinting to theme the couplet will present. Ignoring the standard location of the “volta” makes Sonnet 130 more distinctive because it becomes more dramatic and emphasizes the importance of the statement in the couplet.
Sonnet 18 describes the person as youthful and attractive, and implies the person is perfection. Lust is associated with the perception of someone as faultless, but this image will be destroyed. Correspondin...

... middle of paper ... for his mistress without equating her to objects, nature, and immortals. Shakespeare most popular poem is his Sonnet 18; however, his Sonnet 130 is more unique in form, displays a more sincere expression of love, and exposes the damaging effects of the main comparison made in Sonnet 18.

Works Cited

Hale, James. "Sonnet 130." Magill on Literature Plus JSCC Library. Masterplots II: Poetry, Revised Edition, Jan. 2002. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
Mays, Kelly J. "Poetry." Norton Introduction to Literature. 11th ed. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2013. 810, 891. Print.
Miller, Nelson. "Basic Sonnet Forms." Basic Sonnet Forms. Writers Exchange Board, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. .
Shakespeare, William. Sonnet 18. Ed. Amanda Mabillard. Shakespeare Online. 12 Nov. 2008. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. .

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