Shakespeare's "My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun" Analysis

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Today’s presentation will focus on “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” by William Shakespeare and “Sonnet 147” also by William Shakespeare. These poems, which both deal with the concept of beauty and love are interesting because they contradict each other even though they were written by the same poet and have the same themes. William Shakespeare lived from 1564 to 1616, an era known as the renaissance period. This obviously influenced Shakespeare’s writing as he wrote about love and beauty which are both common themes of this time.

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lip's red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun,
If hair 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;
In some perfumes there is more delight
Than the breath with which my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know,
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.

In the poem “My mistress’ eyes” we can see that Shakespeare is expressing the idea that beauty and physical attractiveness is only one aspect of a relationship and should not be seen as the main part of love. The poem is typical of its era because it is in the form of a sonnet and also because of its topic of love and beauty, was a common theme at this time. The poem, however, challenges the typical values of the age by expressing the opposite characteristics of other poems from that era. For example, instead of complimenting his mistress, he announces everything she is not. The first line of the poem reads, “my mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” this line is surprising to readers as they would have expected this to be a poem about her beautiful looks, but instead he seem to be insulting her. He continues to...
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