While his greatness does not lie in the adoption of this common way of writing, it lies in his fallibleness and starriest in his writing in the process Of employing the approach Of antithesis. (Key words) antithesis, comparison, beauty, nature, human William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. His sonnets, a collection of 154 sonnets, dealing with themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality, play a very important in his achievements.
DOC] Among which, Sonnet 18 enjoys a wide reputation as the most famous one. Sonnet 1 30 is labeled as a satire on the conventions of the showy and flowery courtly nets. In sonnet 18, Shakespeare leaves the readers a wide extent to imagine the beauty of the fair youth and highlights the immortality of man’s beauty, spirit and creation. To achieve this, Shakespeare adopts diversified skills, among which antithesis is a very conspicuous one. This paper is going to discuss the approach of antithesis employed in sonnet 18 and sonnet 130.
In sonnet 1 8, Shakespeare makes an antithesis between his young handsome friend’s beauty and a summers day. By describing the lacks of summer in certain respects, without any explicit depiction of his friend’s noble appearance, forms a flexible and effective comparison in which all of his friend’s beauty has been wonderfully highlighted. At the first line of the sonnet, Shakespeare asks a question, “should I compare thee to a summer’s day’. Immediately, follows the indirect answer in line 2, “thou are more lovely and temperate”.
Here comes the comparison. Shakespeare compares his friend with a summer’s day. Summer is the finest and most pleasant season in England like spring in china. The beauty of his friend is more “lovely’ and “temperate” than a summer’s day. “Lovely’ suggests the outer beauty of the nouns fair and “temperate”, which means “gentle”, the inner beauty. Line 3 to line 6 is devoted to illustrate why the beauty of the fair youth wins that of a summer’s day. Significantly, Shakespeare does not use any words to describe how exactly handsome the fair youth is.
Instead, he accomplishes the comparison initiated at the beginning by complaining the lacks of a summer’s day: being too short, too hot, too rough and sometimes too dingy. Does the comparison formed by sheer complaints go against the consensus that summer is the finest season in England? Basically not, from some expressions n the sonnet, like “the daring buds of May (means “the beautiful buds of the early summer”), “date (with summer)”. “The eye of heaven (refers to sun)”. “Gold complexion (refers to the sun’s golden facer, Shakespeare actually depicts a pleasant summer.
However, though summer is such a pleasant season, it is still found to be lacking in so many respects. Therefore, Shakespeare contributes a couplet and a quatrain to complain these lacks, which curiously and naturally leaves readers the abiding impression that ‘the lovely boy*’ is in fact like a summer’s day at its best, fair, warm, sunny, amperage, one of the darling buds of May. њC]D The everlasting impression constitutes to the mysteries and fallibleness of Shakespearean antithesis.
In order not to profane the beauty of the fair youth, in order to avoid devaluation to the fair youth because of the different aesthetic standard varied from person to person, Shakespeare is not intended to describe the detailed characteristics of the fair youth’s beauty or compare him to some concrete beautiful items, instead, he Compares the fair youth to a summer’s day, which is the finest and pleasant season in England. Through his implants, he shows that though summer is pleasant, his friend is still more “lovely” and “temperate”.
This leaves a lot of imagination for the readers to conceive the real beauty of the youth. In line 7 to line, the initial antithesis between the fair youth’s beauty and a summer’s day sublime. It develops into an antithesis between nature and man or man’s creation. All beautiful things in nature may decline from their perfect states as time passes by and this is nature’s changing course which is universal and immanent. In line 9, again, Shakespeare compares the beauty of his friend to a summers day.
However, the conclusion from this comparison indicates that, different from the transient summer, the beauty of his friend, to Shakespearean belief, will last forever when his beauty being written in this sonnet, and nor shall death threaten it. Confronted with the uncertainty and frailness of life, Shakespeare believes that the spirit and creation of man is immortal, so the short-lived beauty of things and man can be passed down to the younger generations with the help of man’s creation, literary works.
CLCњCLC Being recorded in his sonnets is one of the ways to preserve the beauty that is ender the threat of time. Shakespeare thinks a lot about the passage of time and the losing of beauty accomplished. As to how to preserve the beauty threatened by time, Shakespeare does not propose the “carper diem” or the “carper forum”, he puts forward two ways to preserve it. One is just mentioned before and the other is to get married. NOAA In sonnet 1 to sonnet 17, Shakespeare urges his fair friend to get married in order to pass down his beauty to the younger generation.
As a result of the vain effort, out Of responsibility, Shakespeare chooses to record his beauty in this sonnet to reserve his beauty. C]DњThe ways to preserve beauty goes further, to turn to the immortal sonnet to achieve the goal. ColdњLen the comparison, man’s creation is immortal while nature’s changing course untrimmed, accomplished is “every fair from fair sometime decline”. The conclusion that the creations of man surpass the nature in terms of immortality shows a sense of humanism.
The humanism indicated in that time lies in the adequate assurance of man’s value, appreciation of man’s dignity, nobility, as well as man’s creativity and quest for beauty. DOC] In the sonnet, the highlight of the immortality of man’s beauty and man’s creation fully shows the respect to man’s value and the advocacy of literary works as a means to preserve beauty singles out man’s creativity and quest for beauty. In sonnet 130, antithesis is also employed to distinguish the human beauties of the poet’s mistress from the exaggerated beauties of the goddess-like ladies in Patriarchate sonnets.
William Shakespeare makes fun of the false comparisons in the traditional Patriarchate sonnets. His mistress, according to his depiction, seems much more authentic and approachable. During the Elizabethan era, t was customary to praise the beauty of the object of one’s affections with comparisons to beautiful things found in nature and heaven, such as stars in the night skies, the golden light of the rising sun, or the red roses. DEL]D In sonnet 1 30, Shakespeare compares his mistress to a number of natural beauties and each time makes a point of his mistress’ obvious inadequacy in such comparisons.
Through these comparisons depicts the realistic portrait of his mistress which is interpreted as a satire on the exaggeration of the allusions used in the conventional flowery sonnets, which had become eradicable and uninspiring. In the first two quatrains, Shakespeare compares his mistress to natural beauties. He compares his mistress’ eyes with the bright sun, her lips with the red coral, her breasts with the white snow, as well as her cheek with rose and each comparison ends up unflatteringly for his mistress. Through the use of antithesis, a sense of irony has created.
It seems that a serious of negative comparisons makes the mistress unlovable and become nothing when compared to the beautiful things in nature. In fact, the poet’s mistress is not weak in every aspect. On the contrary, she is just not reflect. It is her imperfection that the poet favors her. She is real, tangible, not as distant as a goddess. That is exactly what the poet compliments her for. In the last couplet, the poet proclaims his bold love for the mistress by declaring that he makes no false comparison, being the implication that other conventional poets precisely do.
The comparisons indicate that the poet’s mistress far outdistances any other fanciful goddess-like ladies of other poets because of her genuine personality and she is more worthy of his love. Therefore, in Shakespearean mind, though beautiful things in natural world re incomparable, he appreciates merely human beauties more. In this sense, Shakespeare expresses a preference Of humanism. After reading sonnet 130, readers are always impressed by the authenticity of both the mistress and the poem itself.
However, why in other similar Patriarchate sonnets, the employment of antithesis can not create the similar effect? Shakespeare is a genuine poet, he takes irony conveyed by the hilarious comparisons as a way to express his own feeling. There is a Chinese saying “she is lovely enough to make the fish sink and geese settle and her beauty would make the moon’s implosion dimmed and put the flowers to shame. ” It is commonly used. Will it be unnatural or should it be to blame? It depends.
Take the mistress in this sonnet as an example, even all the people except the poet think she is ugly, nevertheless, the poet himself thinks she is a beauty, he still has the right to compare her to a goddess. However, if a poet compares his lady to a goddess not because he feels so, but for being influenced by the convention, the comparison has turned to be a cliche indeed. It is the true feeling of the poet behind the employment of antithesis together makes the sonnet exquisitely trial and authentic.