SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS (part 3)
A. Before reading the sonnet think what comparisons poets often use to describe the appearance of a woman they love. Recall the extract from Robert Burns’s poem, where his love is compared to a rose (see simile). What would a poet compare woman’s eyes, face, cheeks, mouth, teeth, hair, voice, figure, the way she walks, etc., to? Write some examples in your notebook.
B. Listen to the sonnet and read it.
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.
С. Answer the questions.
- In which way is Shakespeare’s description of his mistress different from the examples you gave?
- What is the main idea of the sonnet?
- What comparisons are made in the sonnet?
- What words are used to state the comparisons directly?
- Do all comparisons have these words?
- Which of the comparisons are similes? How do you know they are similes?
D. Read and translate the following paragraph:
The main form of figurative language used in literature is metaphor. It is used in virtually all forms of language, including everyday speech, formal prose, and all forms of fiction and poetry. Metaphor is an implied comparison made between things which are basically different. In a metaphor there is never a connective such as like or as to signal that a comparison is being made. (See simile) As a result, metaphors are not always easy to spot.
The intention of a metaphor is to give added meaning to one of the things being compared, as in the sayings "Life is a dream" or "You are my sunshine." We also use a metaphor when we say something like: "Kate's sunny smile enchanted us." We are actually comparing her smile with the brightness and the welcoming warmth of the sun.
If we say, "He was a gem to help me out," we use a metaphor, because we say a person is a gem. Gems are stones; they are hard; they glisten; they are often quite small. But these are not the qualities which the metaphor wants us to consider. We rely on our listener to understand that the metaphor is comparing the person's value to a gem's value.
If we say, "Misers have hearts of flint," we do not mean that their hearts are small dark stones that are bloodless and nonfunctioning. Rather, we mean that misers cannot show sympathy and kindness, just as the piece of stone cannot.
E. Read the sonnet again. Answer the questions.
- What is the difference between a metaphor and a simile?
- Which of the comparisons you’ve found in the sonnet are metaphors?
- What makes you think they are metaphors?
- What are the points of comparison in these metaphors?
F. Speak about the structure of the sonnet and its rhyme scheme.
G. Write a translation of the sonnet.
H. Try to write a poetical translation.
I. Learn the sonnet by heart.