Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 “Sonnet 130” sounds as if it is mocking all of the other poems of Shakespeare’s era. Love poems of this time period made women about out to be superficial goddesses. “Sonnet 130” takes the love poem to a deeper, more intimate level where looks are no longer important and it is inner beauty that matters. Shakespeare paints this picture using a wonderful combination of metaphors and a simile. He starts the poem out with a simile comparing his mistress’ eyes to the sun. He then quickly switches over to using the metaphors to compare the rest of his mistress’ characteristics, such as her breasts to snow and hair to wires. This poem is written in the traditional Shakespearean sonnet form. It has three quatrains and a couplet. The rhyme scheme for the poem is ababcdcdefefgg The a sound is made of an “-un” rhyme while the b sound is made of an “-ed” rhyme. The sound of c is an “-ite” rhyme and the sound of d is a rhyme of “-eeks.” The e and f sounds are rhymes of “-o” and “-ound” respectively and the g sound is a rhyme of “-are”, which ends the poem. As to where the setting of this poem is written, I would have to agree with Helen Vendlers view on this. It seems as though Shakespeare had just finished reading a sonnet of the era that was written about someone’s mistress having eyes like the sun and lips as red as coral. When he sat down and wrote a poem that said the mistress in the latters poem must be a goddess. His was not, but he loved her anyway for what she was not what she was not. This poem was made to be a mocking view of all the other love poems around. I feel that the format of this sonnet in terms of content and Shakespeare’s feelings served two purposes. He wanted first to convey the image that even though his mistress was not as fair as one would hope for, they seemed to share some kind of kinship or bond that no other could share with him, not even his wife. It did not matter to him that she was not as pretty, but only that she is on the same wavelength that he is. Secondly, I feel that he is explaining the fact that he does not necessarily want a “mistress” that is ravishing, and that all of the qualities that other men see in women are not his own and in fact repulse him. He says in line 13 that he loves the woman and that is rare or extraordinary. Which simply means that he cannot believe that he actually does like another woman that is not beautiful to every extent but she offers something more than just good looks, companionship. The picture of true unconditional love is best presented in William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130.” Though his lover’s lips are not full, he yearns for them. Though her cheeks are not rosy, he feels her glow. Her hair is certainly not soft and her breath does not project sweet perfume, but he is still truly captivated. She cannot sing to save her life, yet he loves to hear her voice. When she walks you would not call her graceful but he still cherishes her clumsy strides. This is a poem written by a man that has learned to love with his heart and not his eyes.
Guilt in Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Guilt in Macbeth
There is a large burden of guilt carried by Lady Macbeth and Macbeth in Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth. Let’s look at this situation closely in the following essay.
Fanny Kemble in “Lady Macbeth” asserts that Lady Macbeth was unconscious of her guilt, which nevertheless killed her:
Lady Macbeth, even in her sleep, has no qualms of conscience; her remorse takes none of the tenderer forms akin to repentance, nor the weaker ones allied to fear, from the pursuit of which the tortured soul, seeking where to hide itself, not seldom escapes into the boundless wilderness of madness.
A very able article, published some years ago in the National Review, on the character of Lady Macbeth, insists much upon an opinion that she died of remorse, as some palliation of her crimes, and mitigation of our detestation of them. That she died of wickedness would be, I think, a juster verdict. Remorse is consciousness of guilt . . . and that I think Lady Macbeth never had; though the unrecognized pressure of her great guilt killed her. (116-17)
In “Memoranda: Remarks on the Character of Lady Macbeth,” Sarah Siddons mentions the guilt and ambition of Lady Macbeth and their effect:
[Re “I have given suck” (1.7.54ff.)] Even here, horrific as she is, she shews herself made by ambition, but not by nature, a perfectly savage creature. The very use of such a tender allusion in the midst of her dreadful language, persuades one unequivocally that she has really felt the maternal yearnings of a mother towards her babe, and that she considered this action the most enormous that ever required the strength of human nerves for its perpetration. Her language to Macbeth is the most potently eloquent that guilt could use. (56)
Clark and Wright in their Introduction to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare explain how guilt impacts Lady Macbeth:
Lady Macbeth is of a finer and more delicate nature. Having fixed her eye upon the end – the attainment for her husband of Duncan’s crown – she accepts the inevitable means; she nerves herself for the terrible night’s work by artificial stimulants; yet she cannot strike the sleeping king who resembles her father. Having sustained her weaker husband, her own strength gives way; and in sleep, when her will cannot control her thoughts, she is piteously afflicted by the memory of one stain of blood upon her little hand.