How is love presented in "Whoso List to Hunt," and Sonnet 130? How may these poems have a similar meaning?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Love is presented differently in both poems. In "Whoso List to Hunt," the deer is a metaphor for the woman that the poet hunts. He has wearied of this hunt, "but as she fleeth afore Fainting I follow" (6-7). The woman he chases is unattainable: "Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am" (13). This line implies that the woman has already been claimed by a powerful man, perhaps a king. In this sonnet, love with this woman is unattainable by the poet or any man who may also want to court her. It has been said that this sonnet was written about Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII; thus, the reference about belonging to Caesar (Henry VIII) would be apt.

In the second sonnet by Shakespeare, the woman has been attained by the poet, but the poet goes out of his way to deny her attractiveness. In fact, the images of this woman are negative: "Coral is far more red than her lips’ red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun" (2-3). This woman does not have red lips...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 528 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team