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.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
Critical analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130:
Sonnet 130 is like a love poem turned on its head. Usually, if you were talking about your beloved, you would go out of your way to praise her, to point all the ways that she is the best. In this case, though, Shakespeare spends this poem comparing his mistress’s appearance to other things, and then telling us how she doesn’t measure up to them. He goes through a whole laundry list, giving us details about the flaws of her body, her smell, even the sound of her voice. Then, at the end, he changes his tune and tells us about his real and complete love for her.
The main theme of this sonnet is ‘Shakespeare wants to get his mistress in all those attractions which are associated with beauty and yet he thinks her to be the most beautiful woman in the world.
According to the author, the eyes of his mistress are certainly not bright like the sun light. Her lips are surely not as red as coral is. Snow is white but the breasts of his mistress are dark to look at. The hairs on a woman’s head are comparable to the golden wires but the hairs growing on his mistress’s head are black. He has seen many roses which are black. He has seen many roses which are damasked, red and white but he has not seen such roses in his mistress’s checks. There are some perfumes which give more pleasure; the author gets the perfumes from the breath which comes out from his mistress’s mouth. He loves to listen to his mistress’s voice; and yet he knows it is well that the music which is being played by someone on a musical instrument. He gets much pleasure by hearing his mistress’s voice without playing music. He admits that he has never seen a goodness walking but he knows that his mistress walks only on the earth below and not on the waves of the air in the sky. But he swears by heaven that he believes his mistress to be as rare a woman as any on whom plentiful praise has been presented to depict her as the most beautiful one in the world.
Here it is clear that the poet does not believe in the conventional attributes of beauty. If a lover thinks that his believed is beautiful, then she is beautiful.