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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: June ::
Sonnet 130 and Film
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0335  Wednesday, 24 June 2009

From:       David Basch <
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Date:       Tuesday, 23 Jun 2009 14:34:50 -0400
Subject: 20.0326 Sonnet 130 and Film
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0326 Sonnet 130 and Film

Sam Small makes the same error on Sonnet 130 that many commentators 
today make about the Sonnets as a whole. As I have tried to communicate 
on list, the mistake is to think that the person sonneteered is a real 
person. Despite that many commentators think these poems are about real 
and actual love relations of the poet, years ago many commentators 
thought these were allegorical.

For example, scholar specialist on the sonnet form, Katharine Wilson, 
concluded that these poems were written "to no real woman" and in her 
book on the "sugared Sonnets" she mentions many instances where 
Shakespeare's poems directly parody earlier sonnets.

As for Sonnet 130, Shakespeare is actually making a general statement 
about the nature of love between men and women, telling that a man's 
fascination for the woman he loves does not depend on her physical 
characteristics and the man's love is as good as any that even his gal 
would suggest is deeper and more sincere.

You can learn this also from Sonnet 129, which focuses on man's natural 
passion that drives him to seek out his love. It is "heaven" and a 
"blisse," although at times it certainly can be really troublesome 
("hell"). After all, this is nature's plan for mankind so how bad can it 
ultimately be? This is what the poet is telling us.

The poet even signals this in Sonnet 131 in its very last line, 
revealing that those tough remarks he makes in that sonnet about how 
tyrannical, irresistible, and black his sweetheart is are really 
"slaunder." See. He really doesn't mean it and tells us plainly that he 
is slandering her. In other words, "She is indeed terrible and black, 
but I lie about this, she being great!"

I would love to see a film about all of that.

David Basch

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