Sonnet Comparison Essay

Published: 2021-07-31 15:00:09
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Nonetheless, the difference between Shakespeare’s and Spenser’s views on the way a woman should act is astronomical. Yet, both write of love, beauty, and wit. Both men based their sonnets on the beauty and wit of women. In the first quatrain of Amoretti: 79, Spenser states, “Men call you fayre and you doe credit it/ For that your selfe ye dayly such doe see/ But the trew fayre, that is the gentile wit, and vertious mind, is more praysed of me. ” What he is saying is that, even though men call you beautiful and you agree with them, true beauty lies within the virtues you exhibit.
In Sonnet 145, Shakespeare agrees that a woman’s wit is more valued than her beauty, “But when she saw my woeful state/ strait from her heart did mercy come. ” Despite the similarities, each man’s views on what love means is completely opposite. For example, Spenser writes, “That is true beautie: that doth argue you/ To be divine and borne of heavly seed. ” What he is saying is that he believes true beauty is found in virtue. Virtue, at that time was defined as a woman who was pure and did not speak her mind.
It is in this way that the two sonnets directly oppose one another. In Sonnet 145, Shakespeare writes about his love for a woman who is clearly speaking her mind (by complaining about all the things she hates), “Those lips that Love’s own hand did make/ Breathed forth the words that said ‘I hate’. ” For a woman to do such a thing was absurd, and for a man to still love her was even more rare. In Amoretti: 79, the speaker is not expressing his love for the woman as much as he is using her actions to define what love is.
He is preaching about how a woman should remain pure, and when beauty finally fades she will be virtuous. He uses symbolism to express how a woman should act. In Sonnet 145, Shakespeare uses simile and irony to express that even though the woman is speaking ill about things that irritate her, he still loves her. “Chiding that toungue that ever sweet/ was used in giving gentile doom. /… ‘I hate’ from hate away she threw/ And saved my life, saying ‘not you’. ” In other words, Shakespeare doesn’t mind the things that the woman is speaking ill about.
All he cares is that she loves him, which in the end she says that she does. Both sonnets clearly differ in their opinion of love. Spenser supported the conventional view of love at the time, which was based on the woman’s image in society. Conversely, Shakespeare shows that even though his love interest wasn’t the conventional woman at the time, as long as she loved him, it didn’t matter if she behaved like a shrew. Two poems, two drastically different points of view, both beautiful works of art.

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