“My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun” is a poem written by William Shakespeare about the love towards an imperfect woman. He explains that although his mistress is imperfect, he finds his love special and “rare. ” If the modern day reader is not careful, he/she might be quick to assume the role of the woman that Shakespeare writes about. Although the word mistress now refers to a sweetheart or a woman who lives with a man without being married to him, in Shakespeare’s time, it meant a woman who rules others or has control.
With that understood, the reader can focus on some important conventions of this poem- theme, tone, and form- to better understand and appreciate the piece. The theme of this poem is to reflect and understand true love; true love is loving one another’s imperfections. This poem explains the imperfections and even flaws of the writer’s love. He speaks of her eyes being “nothing like the sun”, her lips not as red as coral, her breasts an off-white color, her cheeks less red than roses, and her voice not as pleasant as music.
He even becomes a bit insulting when he points out that her hairs are like black wires, her breath reeks, and that she treads on the ground when she walks. But despite all these things, he still loves “to hear her speak” and finds his love rare, recognizable by heaven. The tone of this poem is one of realism and contentment. Shakespeare realizes that love is full of imperfections, yet that only makes love stronger. This is a realistic look at his mistress, not a usual love-stuck reflection in a poem of one’s love.
He has come to realize that she is far from perfect, yet that does not take away from his love for her. It seems as though he is having an epiphany about the truth of love. Maybe he is a young lover, who is coming to terms with the facts and reflecting in a realistic manner. Although he speaks of all of her shortcomings, he sounds satisfied with his love. This poem’s form is that of a sonnet. William Shakespeare is famous for his use with sonnets, and truly perfected the art of sonnet creation.
My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun” contains fourteen lines with ten syllables per line, and follows Shakespeare’s renound iambic pentameter meter scheme. In each line, there are five accents of sound, following the iambic pentameter. This form gives the poem a beautiful rhythm, similar to all of Shakespeare’s masterpieces. This poem is a realistic look at the love of the writer. Shakespeare uses his mistress to explain true love and it’s imperfections. He uses tone to set a content and realistic mood. Through his form, he creates an easy, flowing, and enjoyable read, displaying his superiority in the art of poetry.