Shakespeare's Sonnets by William Shakespeare

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How might one interpret Shakespeare's Sonnet 141, "In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes"?

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This sonnet is part of the "Dark Lady" sequence, which, unlike the first 126 Shakespearean sonnets, does not address a person of classical or conventional beauty. As such, this sonnet interrogates the common poetic view of loving "with [the] eyes," stating that, to his eyes, his beloved is actually not especially beautiful. On the contrary, he notes "a thousand errors" in her, but he loves her "despite of view." That is: although in physical form, he knows that his beloved is not beautiful, he continues to "dote" on her, despite knowing it is really not sensible or logical.

The speaker goes on to note all the many ways in which he is not attracted to his beloved -- he does not feel drawn to pursue a "sensual feast" with her; he does not enjoy the "tune" of her voice, or how she tastes or smells. Indeed, his "wits" try, and half succeed, to persuade his heart that he should not place his love here. In the end, however, he is as a "slave" to his...

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