Although sonnets 18 and 130, two of the most famous sonnets William Shakespeare ever wrote, tell about the speaker’s lover, they have contrasting personalities. The two sonnets are written and addressed to the poet’s lover.
Throughout Sonnet 18 the lines are devoted to comparisons such as “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day.” This opening line refers to a beloved man as being greater than something beautiful in nature. The speaker goes on to say, “more lovely and more temperate,” meaning far more beautiful than anything else. Towards the end in the final quatrain, the sonnet encourages the beloved’s beauty will last forever and never die. It goes on to explain how the beloved’s beauty will not perish and fade away because it is preserved in the poem.
Many people consider Sonnet 130 to be an elaborate joke of sorts, not like that of Sonnet 18. Both sonnets compare the speaker’s lover to many beauties. However, in Sonnet 130 the beauties are never in the lover’s favor. People also say that this particular sonnet mocks the typical Petrarchan metaphors. They think this because speaker only sees things at face value, and tells what he believes to be the truth. Quotes such as, “My mistress’ breath reeks compared to perfume,” is one of the minor things people did not usually say about his or her lover.
Perhaps the contrasting views of the poet’s lover in Sonnet 130 is insisting that love does not need conceits to be true. In fact, many people believe women do not have to glow like the sun or be as beautiful as spring flowers to be beautiful. However, Sonnet 18 explains the opposite. All it does is compares the beloved man to the nature of a summer’s day. Many readers agree that in Sonnet 18 almost every line ends with some type of punctuation that causes the reader to pause, and in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 he uses unrhymed lines.
1. When I do count the clock that tells the time, 2. And see the brave day sunk in hideous night; 3. When I behold the violet past prime, 4. And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white; 5. When lofty trees I see barren of leaves, 6. Which erst from heat did canopy the herd, 7. And summer's green all girded up in sheaves, 8. Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard, 9. Then of thy beauty do ...
Although these two sonnets make comparisons between the poet’s lover and nature, each took of it’s own personality. Sonnet 18 has simplicity and praises the loveliness of the beloved. Sonnet 130 is an elaborate joke of love poetry. Both of the sonnets are considered to be two of the most famous by William Shakespeare.