Sonnet 130 Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What are at least two types of figurative language in Sonnet 130?

Types of figurative language in Sonnet 130 include simile, metaphor, and imagery. The speaker utilizes these devices to present a characterization of his beloved that at first seems contrary to romantic poetry. In the final lines, the speaker transforms what love poetry should be able to accomplish.

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The figurative language in Sonnet 130 consists of a series of modified and reversed similes, in which the poet emphasizes how unlike his mistress’s attributes are to various tropes of romantic poetry. These similes are generally more disparaging of the conventions than they are of the mistress. In the first line, for instance, the poet says that his mistress’s eyes “are nothing like the sun.” This is obviously true, and if it were not true, the result would be terrifying. No one’s eyes look like the sun, and it is the cliché comparison which is at fault, not the eyes in question.

These modified similes, dense with imagery, fill the initial three quatrains of the poem. They are primarily visual, but also auditory and even olfactory, as the poet compares his mistress’s reeking breath with delightful scents. In the final couplet, however, the poet introduces a different type of simile , a straightforward one this time, with a thought instead of an image. His love for his mistress is...

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