What is Sonnet 130 about? What is enthymeme, and how is it used in the poem?

Sonnet 130 attacks cliched love images. In the poem, the speaker lists all the ways his beloved does not conform to an idealized beauty image. Nevertheless, the speaker loves this woman dearly. Enthymeme is an argument in which one premise is missing or implied. Shakespeare implies, but does not state, that true love is not based on outward beauty.

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In Sonnet 130, Shakespeare attacks the cliched, worn out language of love poetry. He does this by listing all the ways his beloved does not conform to the idealized beauty image of his time. Unlike the cliched beloveds, his lover's lips are not a red as coral, her breasts are not as white as snow, and her hair is like black, not golden, wires. Her cheeks are not like roses and her breath is not like perfume. Her voice is not as pleasant as music and she is not a "goddess." Nevertheless, the poet asserts he loves this real woman as dearly as poets who raise up false, idealized images of their lovers based only on good looks.

Enthymeme is a logical argument in which one premise is missing or implied. In this sonnet, the speaker asserts that one can deeply love a woman for reasons other than physical beauty. The implication or missing premise is that true love is more than skin deep. The speaker loves this woman for reasons that go beyond her looks. The speaker implies, but does not state, that real love is the love of two souls, not two bodies. Shakespeare reiterates this theme in other love sonnets, where he argues that his beloved aging or even dying will not change his love. Eternal love, Shakespeare argues, is not based on beauty.

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