English Course Work.
Compare the attitudes to love which are expressed by the poets in Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Valentine’ and William Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 130’.
In the following essay I will be comparing two poems, ‘Valentine’ by Carol Ann Duffy and ‘Sonnet 130’ by William Shakespeare. ‘Valentine’ is a contemporary poem while ‘Sonnet 130’ was written about 400 years ago. Duffy expresses her feelings against all of the commercial gifts people would usually give on valentine by writing metaphorically about an onion and Shakespeare expresses his feelings towards his mistress who he loves despite her imperfections.
The first stanza of ‘Valentine’ is just one line containing a dramatic statement, “not a red rose or a satin heart”. Duffy rejects all of the clichéd symbols of valentines day straight away and goes on to describe that an onion is a much better way to symbolize the true meaning of love. In the second stanza, Duffy explains how the onion describes love in a more truthful way, “It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light”. The word ‘light’ represents many things such as truth, love and it also symbolizes a romantic setting of the moon being light up in the night sky.
In the third stanza, Duffy shows the more complex side to love. She writes, “It will blind you with tears like a lover.” The tears show that love is emotional and the tears are caused by the loved one. Duffy is showing that love isn’t always what the romantic movies say it is, and between all of the good times love brings, there are bad times that will cause pain. However, the tears can be positive as they can be crying being over-whelmed with love.
Shakespeare also rejects the usual ways of expressing love towards a loved one in ‘Sonnet 130’. The opening line in the poem is, “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the Sun”. This line can either been seen as negative or positive. His mistress may have eyes so much more beautiful then the Sun or they are nothing like the...