Shakespeare is expressing, though not in the first person, that he knows women are not the perfect beauties they are portrayed to be and that we should love them anyway. He uses two types of descriptions, one of their physical beauty and the other of their characteristics to make fun of all those romantic poets trying to brown nose the girls they like.
One of the physical attributes, in the first quatrain, that he mentions is his mistress eyes are nothing like the sun, meaning she has no twinkle in her eyes. In the first quatrain, he also speaks of coral as being far more red than the lips of his mistress; this is a use of imagery to show her non-beauty. He also recognizes that there are no such roses on her cheeks in the second quatrainthis is another use of imagery, showing she is pale with little complexion. He, in the third quatrain, compares his mistress grace as treading on the ground to when a goddess goes. He is basically saying she trips over herself; this is in a time when all women were to walk elegantly, as if in a pageant. Shakespeare also speaks of her breasts as being dun, or brown, instead of white as snow. Being tan was a physical sign that someone has been outside a lot and therefore is working. The last physical attribute to be mentioned is her black wiry hair. This is a contrast to most descriptions of women, where they would have blonde silky hair.
On the second critic, He loves to hear her speak even though he knows of more pleasing things to listen to. Her voice might not sound like a harp but its not raspy or hoarse. He acknowledges the breathe that from my mistress reeks is not the sweetest smelling flower in the bouquet, but its not rotten eggs or rotting flesh, so hes pretty well off. He uses the truth of a womans beauty and graces to show women wait a lot of poets are lying about in their sweet poems. He is pointing out that they are visualizing women in extremely un-proportional views.
Mr. Shakespeare himself wrote of women that were so much more beautiful than they most likely were; this shows his ability to see and write both sides of a situation. His use of imagery allows the reader to verbally see this woman, and her plainness. He mentions a beautiful object that is vivid itself, and then says his girl is nothing like the previous. Even though she is pale, smells bad, and has little grace, he loves her anyway; this is because its not our physical beauties or abilities but rather our personality that matters.
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