What are the themes in "Sonnet 130" by William Shakespeare?

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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Sonnet 130" by William Shakespeare has  two themes: love for his mistress and admonition for those who need to compare things that are really incomparable. He gives the false comparisons and then tells what he really loves about this person.

How does the poet demonstrate these motifs?

His lover's eyes are different and not as bright as the sun

Her lips are not as red as coral

Snow is white, but her breasts are yellowish white

Her hair is black and wiry

She does not have a blush in her cheeks as roses do

Her breath stinks unlike sweet smelling perfume

Now---The poet loves to hear her voice but music has a more pleasing sound

My mistress  when she walks treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love is rare

As any she belied with false compare.

The lover is human and not a deity.

Despite these unlikely comparisons, the poet believes that his lover is unique and special.

He gives no credence to these comparisons.

The poem seems to be a poem making fun of love poems and the unnecessary comparison that are made in them...an anti-love poem.

sesh | Student
  • Platonic love.

Shakespeare mocks at contemporary poems which were embeded with a lot of exagerrated terms on woman's beauty. His notion about love is not based on appearence, he seems in a negligence if appearence because what he worth is heart. Moreover he brings up this concept of platonic love in his poem.

And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare

as any she belied with false compare.