AP Lit Journals
By Anna Vakili
Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 is used to negate the typical image of a goddess that is portrayed throughout literature up to this point. He talks about her skin and how she does not have the stereotypical pale white skin and rosy cheeks. He says, “If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun,” and continues on to say, “I have seen roses damasked, red and white, but no such roses I see in her cheeks”. Shakespeare is saying that compared to snow, her skin is dull, so she is not the typical pale-skinned beauty so typical of the time period. He also says that she has no roses in her cheeks, meaning she has no natural blush, which was a very typical beauty standard. Shakespeare relates that his lover is nothing like what every other girl said to be beautiful is. He also says that her eyes do not sparkle like many with light eyes do and he says her lip are not red. It says “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; coral is far more red than her lips’ red,” indicating that the ladies he had relations with in the past had bright red lips to go along with fair eyes that sparkled in the sun. This is another standard he debunks by at the end of the sonnet saying that he loves his mistress all the same. The effect of this sonnet on the audience is not always how he intended. While reading, the reader thinks Shakespeare is saying his lover is ugly for not living up to the standards set for her by the “goddess image”. In reality, Shakespeare is trying to convey that his mistress does not have to live up to these standards of beauty because he loves her as she is. The effect he tries to obtain is the debunking of the stereotypical “goddess” and the appreciation of differences and beauty of all kinds.