April 17 2017

Shall I compare thee to my mistress eyes?

Tonight, please write your response to the sonnet you did NOT memorize!    In addition, however, you must respond to at least one comment on the sonnet that you did memorize.

So, if you memorized “Shall I Compare Thee,” you will comment on (analyze, etc.) to “My Mistress’ Eyes,” and respond to at least one classmate’s comment on “Shall I Compare Thee.”  But, if you memorized “My Mistress’ Eyes,” you will comment on (analyze, etc.) to “Shall I Compare Thee,” and respond to at least one classmate’s comment on “My Mistress’ Eyes.”

Some questions to consider for your analysis:

  • What patterns such as rhythm, rhyme, word choice or imagery, do you notice about your sonnet?
  • What literary elements, such as simile, metaphor, alliteration, etc., do you notice and what effect do they have on the overall sonnet?
  • What is the most important underlying message of your sonnet?

As always, you MUST provide specific evidence from your text, proofread your writing for spelling, punctuation, and grammar.  Please also respond to at least one other comment in this thread.


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Posted April 17, 2017 by equinson in category Shakespeare

45 thoughts on “Shall I compare thee to my mistress eyes?

  1. alexo

    Since I memorized Sonnet 18, I instead learned about “My Mistress’ Eyes.” What I found was that altough both poems sounded very similar (They both followed the same type of rythm that we discussed in class), they had very different meanings. Compared to the sonnet I learned, My Mistress’ Eyes i very doen to earth and logical. Shakespeare knows that even though his mistress isn’t an angel, or as beautiful as snow, or as lovely to listen to as music, just like anyone else, his mistress is a human being, and the all the comparisons you could make about her in a negative light shouldn’t be made. She, like every other human, isn’t perfect, and no one should expect hat kind of perfectness in a human.

    Reply
    1. alexo

      Since I memorized Sonnet 18, I instead learned about “My Mistress’ Eyes.” What I found was that altough both poems sounded very similar (They both followed the same type of rythm that we discussed in class), they had very different meanings. Compared to the sonnet I learned, My Mistress’ Eyes is very down to earth and logical. Shakespeare knows that even though his mistress isn’t an angel, or as beautiful as snow, or as lovely to listen to as music, she is, just like anyone else, a human being. All the comparisons you could make about her in a negative light shouldn’t be made, and are unfair. She, like every other human, isn’t perfect, and no one should expect that kind of perfectness in a human.

      Reply
      1. Rebecca F

        You bring up a good point in identifying the contrast with the rhythms of the poems and the meanings of the poems. Although, they are similarly written, their meanings are as night is to day.

        Reply
  2. Toa Neil

    I chose sonnet 18 so I looked over “My Mistress’ Eyes” and I noticed the similarities in subjects. They both are about someone’s love, and both have comparisons to nature. However, 18 is romantic and dramatic and My Mistress’ is realistic.

    Reply
    1. tarika1

      I agree, “My Mistress’ Eyes” is about how many imperfections the person has but he still loves them.

      Reply
  3. charlottes

    I memorized and recited Sonnet #18, so I will be looking over Sonnet #130, “My Mistress’ Eyes.” This Sonnet is very thought through and uses many literary devices. It contains similes (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing LIKE the sun”) and metaphors (“Coral is far more red than her lips red.”). The use of similes and metaphors make the poem seem like a list of comparisons – what his mistress is and isn’t like. Her hair is like wires and her breath reeks. Also, this sonnet is made up of thoughtful word choices and imagery. Words like “hath,” “dun,” “damask’d,” and “belied” move the poem along and add more sophistication. As you read through this Sonnet, you can imagine what his mistress looks like. Her breasts are dun, her hair looks like wires, her eyes look nothing like the sun and her lips are not even close to the color of coral. It makes you feel like Shakespeare is only criticizing his mistress until you get to the end. The underlying message of this Sonnet is that yes, my mistress is no goddess, but I love her anyway. His love for his mistress soars above her appearance. This powerful Sonnet expresses Shakespeare’s love for his mistress, even if she only treads on the ground.

    Reply
    1. francescaa

      I think you hit the nail on the head! Could it be possible that Shakespeare is saying to not judge a book by it’s cover? Or love what is within?

      Reply
  4. caias1

    I memorized sonnet #18, so I am looking at sonnet #130, “My Mistress’ Eyes.” The sonnet tells a story of how Shakespeare’s mistress is only human, she is not a goddess and does not look like one, but he loves her anyway. H uses similes such as, “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;” as well as metaphors,”If hairs be wires, black wires grow from her head.” Shakespeare is describing how his mistress looks, and he is emphasizing how she does not have the looks of a goddess. Both of the sonnets are different in the sense that in My Mistress’ Eyes, Shakespeare sounds like he is criticizing his love, while in Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day, he is saying that his love is more beautiful than a summers day.

    Reply
  5. arihantp1

    I memorized sonnet #18, so I analyzed sonnet #130, “My Mistress’ Eyes.” In “My Mistress’ Eyes,” Shakespeare compares his Mistress’ beauty with a number of things, and comes to the conclusion that his Mistress is not on par with them. Shakespeare uses a variety of metaphors to describe his Mistress’ “beauty.” He says that his Mistress’ hair looks like wires, that her lips are no where near the color of coral, her eyes do not look like the sun and etc. Shakespeare emphasizes the fact how is Mistress is and will never be a goddess. But he could care less and loves her with all his heart anyway, which is the underlying theme of sonnet #130.

    Reply
  6. sofiad1

    Since I memorized “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”, I analyzed, “My Misstress’ Eyes”. I noticed that while the former is a very idealized version of a person, while the latter is a very realized version It talks about how people are not gods or goddesses.

    Reply
    1. sofiad1

      Take two.
      “My Mistress’ Eyes” is very different from “Shall I compare thee”. For one thing, “My Mistress’ Eyes” is much less of an idealization poem. It is very matter-of-fact about a person, and how they (specifically their lover) are not a perfect human. “I’ve seen roses damasked red and white, but no such roses I see in her cheeks.” In this line, he is using roses to symbolize beauty. And he is saying that her cheeks are not as beautiful as it can be said. Overall, My Mistress Eyes is a very realized poem.

      Reply
  7. Kathrynr

    The sonnet that I recited/memorized was “My mistress eyes”, so I will be writing my response to “Shall I compare thee”. In contrast to “my mistress eyes” this sonnet praises a man, where as the other sonnet points out flaws in a women. In sonnet 18 the use of the seasons and weather are used to describe the man. I found it interesting that unlike in “my mistress eyes”, sonnet 18 describes not only the physical appearance but also the spirit. I am unsure if this is right but upon re-reading I found a different meaning. The section that begins with “And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;”. I saw this part as especially interesting. In these few lines I saw a flaw in this perfect being that he describes. These lines seem to show a sadness in the fact that this man will die. I found this an important section. The fact that Shakespeare is concerned about this man dying and wants to preserve his memory. The last lines of the sonnet preserves this mans memory “and this gives life to thee”. In most sonnets the last quatrain is meaningful and lets you look at the sonnet in a different way. The last quatrain for this sonnet shows that this person is important. When Shakespeare says, “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see” we know that Shakespeare sees/knows that writing is immortal and even when people die writing won’t.

    Reply
    1. alexo

      I agree! Shakespeare, in his writings, shows his understanding of the importance of these writings. He knows that, like you said, writing is immortal, and that many people to come (such as us!) would read and marvel over his works.

      Reply
  8. avae1

    I chose to memorize and recite Sonnet 130 for class, so tonight I have read Sonnet 18. This sonnet is detailed with metaphors, and imagery, and it all beautifully flows in the description of a man. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” is surely one of the most frequently asked questions in literature, and is a classic illustration of a metaphor. Truly, the sonnet itself is a metaphor relating man to the wonders of nature. Summer is such a magical time, and Sonnet 18 has continued to create summer images in minds since it was first crafted, “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May”. One can picture the breeze and the bright sun, because this description still stands true today. Shakespeare portrays the man, and determines that people can be even more marvelous than the summer. Unlike the season, the young man’s appearance does not alter with the passing time, at least not with this poem in mind. Inevitably, the man will someday die, but his skin remains golden and his youth is preserved with the words of Sonnet 18. His beauty will live on forever, or, ” So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see”.

    Reply
    1. faithw

      The two sonnets are similar in that they compare a loved one’s beauty to nature’s beauty. Sonnet 18 is traditional. The beloved is given a goddess-like status. Her beauty is fairer than that of nature. Sonnet 130 takes an opposite approach. His beloved does not compare to the beauty of nature.

      Reply
    2. christophert3

      Great job! Your interpretation of the one being described as a man never came to my mind so it is a new idea. I also want to say that, after thinking more about your idea, one could perceive the sonnet to be about the narrator, or Shakespeare, talking to himself about himself. It was just a thought. But I really do like your analysis of Sonnet 18.

      Reply
    3. alekhya

      I commend the way you interpreted the third line of the first quatrain as I had not thought of Shakespeare using those words to achieve that certain effect.

      Reply
  9. Tyler Newby

    Sonnet 130 “My Mistress’ Eyes” is a very realistic poem compared to Sonnet 18.  In Sonnet 130, Shakespeare compares his girlfriend’s features to wonderful things in nature using metaphors and similes.  He compares her hair to black wires, her lips to roses, and her breath to perfume.  However, he says “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damask’d, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground”  He is saying that his girlfriend is not the goddess that he imagines her to be, but he loves her anyways.  

    Reply
  10. ilyssal

    Over our spring break, I memorized Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, therefore, tonight I analyzed Sonnet 130. I noticed that similar to the pattern in “Shall I compare thee”, “My mistress’ eyes” followed the rhythm. Though both are very different, “My mistress’ eyes” seems to be more raw and real. Shakespeare is acknowledging that his maiden is not perfect, but she is beautiful in his eyes. He knows that she is human and that she is perfectly imperfect, and he is willing to accept that. Shakespeare repeatedly compares his mistress to nature, to say that the two are magnificent in their own ways, but they are not the same.

    Reply
  11. faithw

    Given that I memorized and recited William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, I will now analyze his Sonnet 130. Shakespeare’s poem is the antithesis of a typical love sonnet. It would be common for a poet of Shakespeare’s day to depict the loved one as a goddess, without flaws. However, Shakespeare does the exact opposite by magnifying her imperfections and directly stating that she is not a goddess. The average sonnet writer used nature as a typical source of inspiration to speak about the beauty of the object of his affection. In contrast, Shakespeare’s lover is described as being less beautiful than things found in nature. He writes about how his mistress could not compare to the beauties of the world because they are far prettier than she. For example, the poem reads “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips’ red…” While reading this sonnet, the reader imagines a woman with dull eyes and pale lips. Her voice is described as less beautiful than music, and her breath is nothing like perfume. Shakespeare mocks the typical idealizing love poems of his day with his humorous tone. Although he does not outright praise his mistress’ beauty, he relays that women do not need to be perfect to be beautiful. He considers his mistress to be rare and valuable, as evident in the closing of his sonnet; “And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare.”

    Reply
  12. maddy

    The sonnet I will be responding to is “My Mistress’ Eyes”, for the sonnet that I selected is “Shall I Compare Thee”. Upon analyzing this sonnet, I regarded it to be rather contradictory in accordance to “Shall I Compare Thee”. “My Mistress’ Eyes” depicts the mistress not as an embodiment of perfection, but rather as a woman of realistic features that are unfeasible for being personified. A stanza that exemplifies this is, “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…” However, the opening line of “Shall I Compare Thee” is, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” It is therefore evident that while the eyes of Shakespeare’s mistress are far from comparable to the sun, Shakespeare views the man he will further describe as personified by a summer day.

    The previous analogies of mine induced me to ponder the ways in which Shakespeare’s emotions for these two persons differ. I regard Shakespeare’s emotions for his mistress to be love rather than lust. “My Mistress’ Eyes” is not a sonnet that romanticizes the mistress’ qualities, comparing her beauty to impractical sources. Rather, it depicts that Shakespeare holds sentiments of love for his mistress, yet recognizes that she has imperfections. Shakespeare loves his mistress’ voice, eyes, and such, but does not glorify these features of hers. His love for his mistress is realistic likewise his viewpoints of her. Shakespeare does not love his mistress for who she is not, for who she could be. Rather, he loves his mistress for who she truly is, for how she truly appears.

    It is apparent that the man written of in “Shall I Compare Thee” is a person whom Shakespeare is lustful of, but does not love. Within this sonnet, Shakespeare describes the subject as “lovely” and “temperate”. The sonnet compares this man to a summer day, and includes his gold complexion. Numerous times is he described as fair. It is evident that “Shall I Compare Thee” is not of how Shakespeare loves this man, but how he finds him exceedingly aesthetically pleasing; enough so to write exaggerated personifications of him, and not once mention the sentiments he holds for this man other than lust.

    Reply
  13. adam

    These two sonnets differ completely, with the relation of love. But, they are polar opposites in terms of symbolism. “Shall I compare thee to a summers day?” Is about stellar expectation and love, with brightness and obvious beauty. But in contrast, My Mistress Eyes is more dark. It does not have the same obvious beatty, but the man still loves her. While it seems that Sonnet 18 is more of obvious and external love, sonnet 130 has internal meaning in love.

    Reply
  14. christophert3

    For homework, I memorized the sonnet, “Shall I compare thee”, and so I will be talking about my take on “My Mistress’ Eyes”. I believe that in this sonnet, Shakespeare uses highly descriptive comparisons, uses very specific words, such as damasked and coral red. The word choice is also great, such as describing the hair as black wires since it gives you a picture of how ugly she could be. But then, that brings us to what I believe is the main message of this. I must say, we already talked about this, but the message that is meant to be given is that, no matter how terrible or human his mistress is, he loves her a lot, and will not give her false flattery like others, for he loves her the way she is, even if it’s not perfect.

    Reply
    1. margauxc

      I definitely agree with your analysis of the sonnet- especially about Shakespeare honestly loving his mistress- despite how human and non-everlasting she is compared to the lover portrayed in sonnet eighteen.

      Reply
  15. marinas1

    In Sonnet 18, the poet is comparing his love to “a summer’s day”. In fact, the poet is overexaggerating the beauty that his love withholds. The poet is describing his love as some sort of perfect being, one without many faults. What I find interesting about this particular sonnet is constantly speaking about summer. In this way, the poet is linking his love to summer and nature, ideas that are often associated with serenity, peace, and blissfulness. The line “‘But thy eternal summer shall not fade'” further exemplifies this idea. It seems as if the love interests’s beauty and appeal will never go away, demonstrating how alluring the poet’s love interest must be. Through this, we see how beautiful and perfect the poet’s love is.This, in a way, shows not only the love interest, but also the poet himself. As readers, we see how the poet only sees the outside beauty that his love gives off; not once is anything mentioned about a personality of some sort, demonstrating how the poet does not see any further than his lust for his love.

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      1. laurena2

        I agree, the poet only shows lust for his love. It seems that in sonnet 130, he truly loves the woman inside and out.

        Reply
    1. marinas1

      Additionally, the poet writes about how all good things must come to an end. He claims “‘And summer’s lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d…'” In this excerpt, the poet is declaring that most beauty eventually always disappears. Even the sun is not always bright in shiny; most of the time, it is covered with clouds, unable to shine down on the life below it. although the poet claims this to be true, he later says “‘But thy eternal summer shall not fade'”, emphasizing how set apart his love is from the natural course of life, thereby setting his love on a pedestal, and making his love seem perfect, and without flaws, exemplifying on the idea aforementioned.

      Reply
  16. alekhya

    In sonnet 130, Shakespeare using everyday sights that the readers can relate to, to emphasize the imperfections of his mistress that do not stop him from loving her. He using objects such as wires, snow, coral, roses, and the sun to describe how ordinary and bland his mistresses features are and to help us understand that he loves her for who she is and not hat she looks like. He also uses terms such as music, perfume, and goddess to compare her to things that she will never be and may make her seem rather dreadful. Shakespeare also utilizes humor when he says that his love’s eyes do not shine as brightly as the sun as that could be rather annoying and harmful, as people often say that their love’s eyes shine so brightly with light. One line in the poem that I find rather intriguing is when Shakespeare says, “As any she belied with false compare,”. My interpretation of this line is that Shakespeare will never be fooled by such absurd and bizarre comparisons.

    Reply
  17. willowm

    I memorized sonnet 130 for class so tonight I read sonnet 18. “Shall I compare thee” praises his love, while in “My Mistress’ Eyes” he speaks of his love more realistically. Shakespeare uses a lot of imagery in sonnet 18. It says “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.” He describes a nice summer day, and says that his love is even more beautiful.

    Reply
  18. eshap

    In Sonnet 130, “My Mistress’ Eyes”, Shakespeare shows the realistic description of his mistress. His mistress does not really have lips as red as coral, or speak as though her voice were like a song. She’s a human being, not a goddess, and doesn’t have perfect features or characteristics. The mistress is like everybody else. Shakespeare loves her even though she isn’t perfect like a goddess, but instead loves her for the person she is. He says, “My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.” The mistress is not above anyone else, she does not rise above or stand out against others. Instead, she goes along with everybody else, and walks on the ground. Even though there isn’t any extraordinary feature about her, Shakespeare claims his love for his mistress.

    Reply
  19. laurena2

    Over the past week, I have been studying and analyzing sonnet 18 by Shakespeare. Tonight, I analyzed Shakespeare’s sonnet 130. The sonnet I have been analyzing all along (sonnet 18) talks about unrealistic beauty, almost as if it is describing the perfect statue or a goddess-like being. Sonnet 130 complete contradicts these descriptions. It talks about realistic beauty that his mistress possesses. Both of the sonnets follow the same rhythm, however sonnet 18 uses much more bright imagery than sonnet 130. This is because sonnet 18 compares the woman to beautiful pieces of nature. In sonnet 130, Shakespeare uses realistic words, rather than comparing the woman to what she is not. When in the line “coral is far more red than her lips red,” Shakespeare creates a dark, bland picture in our minds. Although he is using imagery, the image in our heads is not as perfect as the one in sonnet 18.

    Reply
  20. Rebecca F

    Upon reading sonnet 18, I realized that the sonnet had a rhyming pattern of a and b, c and d, e and f. However, the last two lines deviate from this patter, rhyming with each other instead.
    Regarding the meaning of the poem, it describes a woman of unfathomable beauty, that puts all other things to shame. Her beauty is unrealistically portrayed. While she may be beautiful, Shakespeare overexaggerates this quality, comparing her to “a summer’s day”. This poem glorify’s the woman’s beauty, disregarding that she is human and must have flaws.

    Reply
    1. Rebecca F

      I switched my posts accidently, here is the right one:

      In contrast to sonnet 18, sonnet 130 portrays a woman of realistic beauty. The sonnet even goes as far to portray her as ugly. Yet, the poet still loves her as he says, “And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare/As any she belied with false compare.” Sonnet 130 describes how the woman he loves, although imperfect, is beautiful to him, and not because of her looks. Shakespeare writes knowing that the woman is only a human, saying, “I grant I never saw a goddess go/My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.” Shakespeare does not call her a goddess or sing her praises. Instead, he points out her flaws, emphasizing her humanity, and writing that he loves her above all.

      Reply
  21. margauxc

    At first glance, sonnet one hundred and thirty presents itself as an elegy to idealistic beauty. Shakespeare spares no mercy when disparaging his lover’s allure and emphasizes the lack of color his mistress expresses. In regards towards word choice, it can be noticed that Shakespeare- or rather the narrator, uses stereotypical ideals of love and beauty to establish the banality of a perfect love several times throughout the sonnet. For example, possessing eyes which outshine the sun is a trope often used in literature- as well as having a melodic voice and an appeal of a goddess. Another comparison which is belittled during the sonnet is the juxtaposition of hair and golden wires- which Shakespeare counters by claiming black wires grow on his mistress’ head. Instead of using this particular paradigm, Shakespeare decides to trivialize the mere idea of such phrases, mentioning in the last couplet that such ideals were “false compare”. In doing so, Shakespeare emphasizes the minutiae of perfection, the immaterial of beauty, and the virtue of being honest being far more significant than the quality of being winsome. Essentially, sonnet one hundred and thirty conveys that an honest love is far more valuable than an envied love.

    Reply
  22. ivanl

    In sonnet 130, a more realistic idea of beauty is established. Contrary to sonnet 18, there is a very different word choice and even some words associated to negativity are used in sonnet 130, perhaps to establish a more realistic tone. Words like “reek” and expressions like “music hath a much more pleasing tone” explain that although he loves her and she is beautiful, there are many things that are just as good, if not more beautiful than her.

    Reply
  23. cameronl3

    Although both sonnets by Shakespeare are similar in the fact that they both express their love for a woman, Sonnet 130 particularly critiques at the imperfections of the women, but even with this, he still loves and has an abundance of affection towards her. In Sonnet 18, he directs the message toward all of the perfections and what makes her beautiful, as he compares her to a “summer’s day,” sharing that she is even more beautiful than the bright summer day, and nothing will be able to take that beauty away. With sonnet 130, the message shows that no one is really “perfect,” and you do not need to be in order to find true love, unlike Sonnet 18, where the woman he describes is in a way perfect.

    Reply
  24. George

    Sonnet 18 is a work of art. It talks of a star crossed lover that is so in love that he compares his significant other to the summer. He actually says that his lover is better than the summer. “Summers lease hath all to short a date … but thy eternal summer shall not fade”. This type of love seems a bit appearance based. He doesn’t comment on any type of personality only appearance.

    Reply
  25. briannag3

    I memorized Sonnet 130 so in this blog I will analyze Sonnet 18. They are very different. In Sonnet 130 he talks mostly about his mistress and her flaws, but Sonnet 18 is much different. In Sonnet 18 he praises her while also mentioning that there are problems along the way in a relationship. He says, “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.” Here he gives an example. In the beginning he compared her to a summers day, and now he talks about how summers days aren’t perfect. In relation to his mistress and their relationship he means that everything isn’t always perfect and there’s always problems along the way.

    Reply

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