Explain and extract the use of imagery in "Sonnet 130."

Shakespeare uses imagery in "Sonnet 130" to parody conventional Petrarchan love language. For example, he notes that his lover's eyes are not like the "sun," her lips are not "coral," her cheeks are not "roses," and her breath is not always like "perfumes." Nevertheless, he still loves her dearly.

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Imagery is description using any of the five senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, or smell.

The imagery in Shakespeare's "Sonnet 130" pokes fun at or parodies the conventionalized love imagery typical of a Petrarchan sonnet. In this sonnet, Shakespeare tries to get beyond the stale love language he had read so many times.

For example, he notes that his beloved's eyes are not, as is conventionally expressed, like the "sun." Her lips are paler than the "coral" color that is normally assigned to a beloved's mouth. He states that while a lover's skin is expected to be white like snow, her skin tone is more like "dun," a grayish-tan color. Likewise, her cheeks are not the vivid red color of "damasked" roses he has seen.

Shakespeare's speaker moves past sight imagery to scent images: his beloved's breath is not like "perfumes" but sometimes "reeks." He uses sound imagery as well: her voice is not like music, and she does not float on air but "treads on the ground."

For all this, the final couplet

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 911 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on July 14, 2020
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