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.
William Shakespeare wrote poems ranging in topic from love, beauty, and sex to death and the danger of human’s naïvety. When reading a Shakespeare sonnet, specifically ones surrounding the topic of love, you can be sure to make a personal connection with the theme of the poem. William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130” sheds light on the issues surrounding modern love and makes a clear case defending the idea of having a strong moral code over possessing superficial values.
“Sonnet 130” has a theme that surrounds the topic of true love. True love ultimately overcomes all falsities and personal illegitimacies and is something that is not found everyday. Shakespeare’s poem exemplifies these facts and makes it clear that love is something that should be valued and treasured. The poet’s “mistress” is not perfect in all ways, but still, Shakespeare loves her deeply and values her. Like everyone, the lover has flaws and falls far short of perfection, yet Shakespeare finds himself deeply attracted to her genuine ways. The poet explains that his lover’s eyes do not glow like the sun, her cheeks are not rosy, her breath reeks, and her voice is not as pleasant as most music; yet his comment “…I think my love as rare / As any she belied with false compare” (p. 1184, lines 12-13) shows an appreciation for her authenticity. The quote shows that Shakespeare identified the rare nature of his lover’s legitimacy and realness. This love for her honest ways is a sign of Shakespeare’s true love. Valuing things like money, beauty, and vanity are not signs of true love, whereas valuing genuine things indicate that the love is real and true. This love is a rarity, as Shakespeare points out, and when it comes around it shall be taken advantage of. In modern times, finding love like this is not easy and searching for true love has never been so different. Living under these modern conditions has greatly affected people’s overall feelings on love, marriage, and sex.
Within the past decade or so, factors like a rising divorce rate and online dating services have forever tainted the institution of love that Shakespeare writes of. Love is questionably no longer as pure as that it was in Shakespearian times. Back in those days, love was more natural and simplistic and lovers were more accepting of each other’s flaws. Shakespeare writes, “I grant I never saw a goddess go; / My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground” (p. 1184, lines 10-11), confirming that he still loves his lover, even though she is not a goddess. He states that she treads on the ground, meaning she is no special angel or god, but a regular lady. In today’s world, people expect that their lover be “a goddess” and cannot see the value in “tread[ing] on the ground.” This is the reason for much of the issues that have to do with love in modern society. If people possessed the moral code necessary to see that authenticity is the most favorable part of a person, perhaps the divorce rate would decrease and love could become pure once again. Not being superficial and having strong morals is key when achieving true love.
Folks nowadays, specifically in America, tend to be materialistic and superficial. It seems like people now favor the instantaneous satisfaction as a result of buying something online or looking at social media over meaningful things like love.. The media has a profound effect on the way that people love others in society. In recent years, television shows have almost seemed to aim at these vices and make humor of them. The TV network E! airs shows like “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” and “Keeping up With the Kardashians” that both glamorize and encourage materialistic values. “Keeping up With the Kardashians” is the television series that fueled the fire of immoral media. Beginning in 2007, the show follows the Kardashian family, a affluent aristocracy living in Calabasas, California. Cameras take the viewer in the family’s multi-million dollar homes, into their plush, six figure cars, all the while making it seem acceptable to value Gucci purses and private planes over family and love. The cast on the show exhibits little self-respect or respect to the institution of marriage or love. This became evident in 2011 when one Kardashians married her fiancé of three months, only to file for divorce 72 days later. The wedding, aired on TV, made the Kardashian family nearly $20 million, further diluting the image of love and marriage to the world. This is a contributing factor to the way that modern love is different to the love that Shakespeare experienced with his lover. Shakespeare valued his “mistress” for who she was, not what she looked like, how much money she made, or for a profit. It seems now that people have selfish ideas when it comes to love and think mainly of what is it in for them. This is no way for a person to find someone that they could spend eternity with. There is no room for being fake in love because if there is any secrets or wrongdoings, the love is not pure. “Sonnet 130” by William Shakespeare relates to the issues of modern love and also touches upon the idea that remaining true to yourself is more important than materialism and superficiality.