Compare And Contrast Sonnet 8 And 130

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A sonnet, from the Italian ‘sonneto’ meaning “little song”, has been a dominant form of verse since the thirteenth century. Sonnets have a fixed form consisting of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter and a specific rhyme scheme depending on the type of sonnet it is. The three types are Spenserian, Petrachian or Shakespearian. In the sixteenth century, Shakespeare deviated from the form and created his own form of sonnet. He wrote over one hundred and fifty in his lifetime and became a master of the genre.

Though usually written on the subject of love, sonnets are sometimes also written about beauty and nature. The themes of sonnet 130 – my mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun’- are masked underneath Shakespeare mocking the unrealistic comparisons
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However, in sonnet 8 it is not traditional in that Shakespeare is questioning using natural imagery to describe the beauty of a person because everything that is natural fades. Also, it is highly untraditional in the twist he features in the final couplet, lines thirteen and fourteen- where Shakespeare asserts that the sonnet itself will enable the subject of it to triumph over the changes and decay brought about by time.

In many ways, the sonnet is a boast by Shakespeare of what he can do to the person he is addressing. Sonnet 130 however, has a difference in its variation. Both sonnet 8 and 130 are formed of iambic pentameters- lines of five beats. However, in sonnet 8’s 2nd line, the pentameter is irregular. Stress’ fall on ‘far’, ‘red’, ‘her’ and ‘red’. Shakespeare has chosen to stress ‘far’ because he is belittling his lover. This turns convention on its head by saying that no, coral is far more red than my lover’s lips, my lover is not beautiful but that is
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She ‘treads on the ground’, she is down to earth, normal and real and this poem celebrates that. Language used in sonnet 130 is far more colloquial than in 18. In sonnet 130, the rhythms in the poem are more like those of spoken language and the poem flows as if it were spoken -this is the aim of the iambic pentameter. However, in sonnet 18, the language is far more formal in comparison to 130, which could suggest a greater distance between Shakespeare are the subject of sonnet 18.

In 130, the recipient is referred to as ‘My mistress’, whereas in sonnet 18 there are no possessive prefix’s comparable to that in 130. The reason why there is colloquial language in sonnet 130 could be because the recipient is not of such a high class as the recipient in 18 and the language used will be far simpler so the meaning could be put across, or it could possibly be to echo the idea that his lover does not have to be fancy and be described with long, ridiculous words for him to love
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