What is the critical appreciation of "Sonnet 130" by William Shakespeare

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mattbuckley | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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No poet or playwright has received more attention than that of William Shakespeare, and for good reason. A critical appreciation of his "Sonnet 130" shows his genius. The poem in form is just like his other poems, a sonnet. A sonnet was often used by other poets as a platform to write grandiloquent lines describing the unattainable characteristics of the women they loved. Shakespeare wrote this poem in response to those poets. He writes about all the characteristics they romanticize in realistic terms. Where other poets compare their love's eyes to the sun and voices to that of beautiful music, he states that his "mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun" and that although he loves "to hear her speak, yet well I know/That music hath a far more pleasing sound". He uses this platform to tear down their ridiculous concepts of putting women on an unattainable higher ground. However, note that the ending of this poem falls upon the same romantic notion that his love is rare and unique.

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