Sonnet 130 and My Ugly Love Contrast and Comparison Shakespeare’s sonnet 130, “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” and Pablo Neruda’s “My ugly love” are popularly known to describe beauty in a way hardly anyone would write: through the truth. It’s a common fact that modern lovers and poets speak or write of their beloved with what they and the audience would like to hear, with kind and breathtaking words and verses. Yet, Shakespeare and Neruda, honest men as they both were, chose to write about what love truly is, it matters most what’s on the inside rather than the outside.
The theme of true beauty and love are found through Shakespeare and Neruda’s uses of imagery, structure, and tone. The imagery portrayed in both Shakespeare and Neruda’s sonnet share the juxtaposition between negative and positive imagery. Still, Neruda’s sonnet constantly interchanges negative and positive verses more than Shakespeare does. For instance, the first quatrain of Neruda’s sonnet perfectly portrays the mentioned juxtaposition with “My ugly, you’re a messy chestnut.
My beauty, you are pretty as the wind. Ugly: your mouth is big enough for two mouths.
Beauty: your kisses are as fresh as melons. ” This imagery, in addition, involves two famous types of poetic devices: metaphor and simile. It’s intriguing to see that the metaphors are used to describe the ugly, while the similes are used for the beauty. These two devices add on to our understanding as readers to see that with the metaphors for the ugly is meant to make us see an over exaggerated view of the speaker’s reality in regards to his beloved and the similes for the beauty is meant for us to see what the speaker really sees because he is in love.
In contrast, Shakespeare’s sonnet twice as much negative, but honest imagery within the three quatrains. The first quatrain serves as the ideal example of the concept, “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. ” In a sense, some of the verses are metaphors, which would be compared with Neruda’s concept on metaphors applying to the ugly.
In like manner, the last verse in Neruda’s sonnet, “My love: I love you for clarity, your dark” could be interpreted to mean that the speaker loves his beloved to continue being a mystery for him in so that he could find more beautiful qualities about her by focusing on her unattractive qualities first. Similarly, Shakespeare’s last couplet, “And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare as any she belied with false compare” display’s the speaker’s love for what is real rather than how his beloved ought to be.
In brief, the imagery plays a huge part within both sonnets because it can give readers insight as to how the speakers think. Shakespeare and Neruda’s poem are obviously known to be sonnets, however they don’t both share the same structure; Shakespeare’s is of course a Shakespearean sonnet containing fourteen lines and has a particular rhyme scheme (ababcdcdefefgg), but Neruda’s sonnet doesn’t follow Shakespeare’s or the traditional Italian sonnet. Rather, Neruda’s sonnet does indeed contain fourteen lines, but most follows the free verse sonnet structure, since there is no rhyme scheme.
Yet, likewise, both sonnets do present a problem in the first verses and then develop towards a solution. In the following, on Neruda’s lines, “My ugly…My beauty…Ugly:…Beauty:.. ” the speaker starts acknowledging his beloved that he is proud she is his for him to say “my”, but as the sonnet further progresses, he starts using the words “ugly” and “beauty” themselves as if having two separate loves. The speaker continues to use this technique until the last few lines when seals up again with “my ugly…my beauty…
My Love…” Now that last bit is where the two separate lovers (the speaker’s beloved) close up as one, just like two crossroads merging into one road. In Shakespeare’s sonnet, there is a great amount of semi-colons presented such as, “…are nothing like the sun;…lips’ red;…breasts are dun;…cheeks;…sound;…. go;.. ” These semi-colons help determine where the pauses must be taken into consideration and whether the verses continue or not. Overall, it helps with the structure of the verses within a quatrain.
In the last couplet of Shakespeare’s sonnet, “and yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare,” the volta can be easily found because of the transition word, “yet”. In all, the structures of both sonnets help readers connect with what the speakers have to say about their beloveds. In final, the tone between Shakespeare and Neruda’s sonnets both unite with the truth, whether they may sound harsh at first, but later sound sweet. Starting off with Shakespeare, the speaker within the sonnet may sound downright critical in the first three quatrains for it may seem the dark ady has nothing but flaws, but after the volta, we find out that the speaker loves the dark lady. The tone from that point is appreciative, for the speaker gladly likes to input his honest critique about his beloved and is still convinced he loves her. Also, the tone may have been satirical for the speaker mocks the over-used hyperboles that are used by poets writing love poems. Thus, the speaker speaks the truth about his beloved’s appearance, which is rare for others to do without using fluffy, lovely phrases.
As for Neruda, his tone varies from honesty to romantic to humorous. With the imagery he provided, such as “Ugly: where did you hide your breasts? They’re meager, two little scoops of wheat…” it hard not to laugh at this, especially when the word “did” is emphasized, as if a comedian would pronounce it that way. Yet, he underlying love for his beloved is always shown through his honest voice (with “the ugly “verses) coated with adoring verses that show what a romantic he is. Indeed, the speaker’s tone will indicate the final ingredient into putting the overall theme of a poem.
All in all, taking from the imagery, structure, and tone of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 and Pablo Neruda’s “My Ugly Love” sonnet, it’s pretty clear that the overall them of both sonnets combined is that appearances are not what matter where true love is concerned. Analyzing these sonnets reminded me of a Spanish soap opera I am currently watching called, “La Fea Mas Bella” where the same theme is perfectly shown throughout the storyline. Shakespeare and Neruda have definitely pulled off a successful move in comparison with the saying that “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. ” ,
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