By: Bobby Roberts
Poverty was very common in sixteenth century England. Many people suffered due to debts catching up to them. Morale was low as well for the same reason along with the high infancy death rate. William Shakespeare’s family fell in this category. They were very poor and had lost many infants due to infant deaths. They had little to no education and Shakespeare’s parents couldn’t even write their own names. They used a stamp-like tool to sign their documents. Shakespeare overcame this obstacle and became a literary icon. I believe Shakespeare took anything he had in a realistic view. In this poem, one does not hear if this girl is ugly or fat, but we know she is not goddess-like in her actions and features. He learned this probably from being poor in England. He knew his role and didn’t embellish things that wasn’t true to try to make himself seem better in the eyes of the public (Sams 25-27).
The poem I picked is called My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun. I have learned that this poem is a satire on the romantic poems in the time period. I concluded that someone does not have to be perfect for someone to have a poem written about him/her. I don’t agree that this poem is nothing but a satire, I believe it could be one of the best love poems ever. When I first heard this poem in class, I listened deep and hard at the words, not really knowing any of Shakespeare’s past. I got the impression that he was making fun of the other poet’s, but also showing his endless love to his loved one. So many things intrigued me about this poem; I can barely fit them in an essay. The tone of the poem and the way Shakespeare delivers it makes this the best poem on the list to pick from.
Shakespeare’s poem triggers many feelings and memories that have been locked away for many years. I feel the need to be loved and the need to be wanted in a way where nothing matters, but the two people’s feelings. Shakespeare’s thoughts and emotions in this poem is exactly what I have desired my entire life. He speaks to me and says that he loves this girl not for her looks, nor her voice, but for what she is. The love is so great and “rare” that it lights up his life. I think that is better than any over-emphasized love poem. This poem is just real; that is what intrigues me the most. Shakespeare uses humor by satire and adds his little charge of romantic flavor to it. Some memories it evokes could vary from childhood crushes all the way up senior prom. In grade school, it didn’t matter if someone had superstar looks or anything of that stature. I had crushes on girls just for being themselves and playing ball with us guys, or even dragging me to go play house with them. Somewhere in between grade school and end of high school I started estranging my old ways and started looking at physical features to decide who I may ask for whatever certain dance would be coming up. This poem makes me rethink my whole paradigm when it comes to the opposite sex.
This poem brings up many things up in my mind. Not only does it make me rethink certain paradigms in my life, but also certain life goals. I just wonder if there is a girl out there for me who can make me feel this way about her, or to make them feel this way about me. I guess I can only wish. I believe that if I ever reached that point I would be satisfied. This poem makes me less shy after reading it. I realize that if I was to find a soul mate or an extreme love I should just be myself, since that is what she will end up loving me for. Why people think this is a mere satire boggles my mind. In class that is all I heard, I was in such shock after reading this in class that I was speechless at the time and wasn’t quick enough to give my input in the discussion. Since Shakespeare was trying to write a satire, poking fun at the love poems of his era, I believe he may have exceeded his expectations for this poem. Even if this poem was not thought to be in the context I acknowledge it to be in, Shakespeare touched at least one person with this poem.
I would like to know if this poem had any other meaning than just a satire that he has an urge to write. I can see it as just being a satire, but the way I read it, this poem has at least two different connotations. I would like finding out if Shakespeare’s early childhood poverty influenced this non-superficial love poem. I would feel better if he appreciated the things he has and not take them for granted. If he had love maybe he even knew that she wasn’t a goddess, but she was perfect for him.
The primary reason I like this poem was it is like all the other love poems in its time, theoretically. I perceive that Shakespeare was trying to do this in a hypocritical fashion. He didn’t like rich people gloating about their riches and over-exaggerating themselves. Shakespeare took a modest man’s approach to a love poem and basically expresses himself the same way all other poets do. The only difference is the over-exaggerating is cut out.
As anyone can see, My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun, is a fantastic poem about a man’s rare love for his mate. There are many reasons why this poem is fantastic as I have tried to explain. The main point I would like to say is that a writer's reasons for writing a specific poem or novel could be totally different then what his/her audience receives as his/her message. The communication cycle is definitely in use when anyone communicates with anyone including his/her audience when a poet writes any literary work. The denotative meaning would be what the poet meant from the beginning and the connotative would be what the reader gets from the work. Personally, I think when anyone reads poetry or any piece of literature they should view it as a piece of visual artwork. The piece of art could be called Winter, but he/she could get a warm feeling from it because of the sun in the upper right corner. The sun reminds that person of the spring in California. So the connotative meaning of this piece is the exact opposite of what the artist is trying to express. It is the same with anything. Denotative meaning of poetry does not mean anything until after you have your own connotative meaning to compare to it. If someone reads any sort of literature, they will get their own opinion about it before they find out the denotative meaning is. Exploration is just one key component of understanding.
Works Cited Sams, Eric, The Real Shakespeare: Retrieving the Early Years, 1564-1594. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.