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Summary: the Connection Between Shakespeare and the Dark Lady

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With the commencement so called dark lady sonnets there's a marked difference of tone from that of peaceful reflection on a love that has been very close to eternised, to a rather disturbed story of passion that's occasionally becomes near anger and rage. The opening sonnet introduces the dark lady as black and sometimes digresses unexpectedly into a criticism of face painting and makeup; one thing that William Shakespeare never found easy to tolerate for he seems to think of it as fake and not resembling actual human-like features. The sonnet seems to show that the dark lady and his beloved mistress’ dark features- a symbol of mourning for the degradation of true beauty. His love quickly changed into something that looked like he ended up gaining attraction to the dark lady. This attraction to dark beauties slowly became a common opinion so he felt that his love for the dark lady was justified.

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Moreover, Sonnet 100 thirty is another poem by Shakespeare that would facilitate us to understand the connection between Shakespeare and the dark lady. Sonnet 100 thirty could be a gimmick of the dark lady in which Shakespeare is too clearly in need of modern beauty to feel happy and satisfied. The poet is open to showing us his weakness for the woman and expresses his infatuation for her in negative comparisons. As an example; the comparison of her to natural objects, he writes that her eyes are; “nothing just like the sun”. (sonnet a hundred thirty, line one) and therefore the colors of her lips and breasts boring as compared to the beauty of nature. Whereas regular love sonnets by other poets build their girls into goddesses in sonnet 100 thirty the author is just entertained by his own try to ‘uglify’ his dark girl. He cynically states; “I grant I never saw a goddess go; my mistress once she walks treads on the ground”. We learn that her hair is black but note the disparaging method the author describes it; “black wires grow on her head” another example is ; “and in some perfumes is there more delight/ than within the breath that from my mistress reeks”. Shakespeare borders on crassness regardless of how satiric he's attempting to be. 

The writer should be very secure in his love for his mistress and hers for him to be as disparaging as he is even in jest, a security he didn't get pleasure from with the young man. Though the twist within the last couplet signals the negation of all the disparaging. But the comments the writer has created in the dark lady sonnet’s last 2 lines arguably don't erase the horrendous comparisons in the 3 quatrains.

Finally, it's difficult to know how important the darkness of the dark lady was. Should we equate it with the emotions of guilt usually connected to male sexual wishes repressed or otherwise or should it be seen as a light hearted conventional and somewhat frivolous explanation of and justification for an extreme emotional entanglement.

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