Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare

In act 1 scene 1 Romeo describes his love for Rosaline and as a reader you see that his love is not true and based on lust. We see that it will only cause pain to Romeo as she does not reciprocate this feeling The location where Romeo talks about Rosaline is in Sycamore Grove which is wordplay meaning sick with love, which reinforces the idea that Romeo will get hurt. Romeos love is shown as based on lust and only leading to pain through the use of oxymoron, “Misshapen chaos of well»seeming forms, / Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, ”.

Firstly ‘Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms’ shows that although she has a ‘well- seeming form’, which means she looks good aesthetically but the fact she is described as ‘chaos of well-seeming form‘ reveals that she only looks good on the outside and is completely different as a person.

This shows that Romeo’s love is based of lust as he is focusing on her looks Furthermore Rosaline brings Romeo only pain as she is described as a ‘feather of lead’ which reveals that Romeo does not know she is holding him back as ‘feathers‘ are one of the lightest things.

Although as this is a ‘feather of lead’ it means that it’s actually holding him back from being himself and as he‘s carrying around the heaviest metalt In addition the fact she is described as ‘bright smoke’ reinforces the idea that Romeo‘s love is just lust as ‘smoke‘ and it clouds visions and suffocates peoplet ‘Bright‘ can be a positive word symbolising warmth and sunshine but matched with ‘smoke’ this word means that it’s blinding through the ‘smoke’.

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This shows that she is the light in Romeo’s darkness but his vision is clouded so he’s focusing on her aesthetics not her personality. Finally ‘cold fire‘ reveals that heat represents passion, which means that she looks warm but she will not give any warmth to Romeo. This shows the pain Romeo’s in as he wants her to return the love he feels but she will not. ‘Sonnet 130’ by William Shakespeare is a parody of Petrarch’s idea of idealised beauty. Petrarch’s view on love said to be beautiful, woman had to be pale, red lips and bright eyes. This was then believed in sonnets and by Elizabethan people. In ‘Sonnet 130’ love is presented as true and simple as it is not based on beauty with the use of celestial imagery, ‘I grant 1 never saw a goddess go;/ My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:’, ‘I never saw a goddess go’ reveals to us that Shakespeare does not believe in the stereotypical romantic motifs, He sees her as she really is.

This is a huge contrast to Romeo and Rosaline as Romeo only cares about how she looks and focuses on her physical appearance when he describes her. Furthermore ‘Lreads on the ground‘ reinforces the fact that she is not a ‘goddess’ and she is not above everyone else she is a simple human and doesn’t not see herself above people which shows her a true and does not better herself. However this is the opposite of Romeo as he describes Rosaline as having ‘Dian‘s wit’, which shows he sees her as a goddess as Dian is the goddess of hunting. In addition, the simplistic word of ‘walk’ shows how simple the love is as Shakespeare does not need any more complex words he has said it how it is and has not used a romantic motif as poets of the time usually used. Finally the possessive pronoun of ‘my‘ reveals that he sees her as his even though she is only his ‘mistress’. This reveals that their love is true as they have not been forced to love each other through marriage.

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Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare. (2022, Dec 13). Retrieved from

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