1)We will be reading the sonnets of William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
2)We will discuss what the students think the sonnets mean.
3)How do the love sonnet of old compare with the love poetry of today?
SHAKESPEARE SONNET CXXVII
In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty’s name;
But now is black beauty’s successive heir,
And beauty slander’d with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on nature’s power,
Fairing the foul with art’s false borrow’d face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress’ eyes are raven black,
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Slandering creation with a false esteem:
Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says beauty should look so.
In Shakespeare’s sonnet CXXVII, the first line tells us what the “look” was at that time, what one needed to be said to possess beauty. His mistress did not have the standard “look” for the time but she was beautiful as stated in the last line, “that every tongue says beauty should look so”.
The idea of what is the “look”, especially for women continues today. We are told through the media that if you look a certain way, you will be able to possess happiness, success and even love. Even though some ad’s suggest being different and being yourself is the new way of thinking it is still over shadowed by the overpowering, “What’s In Now?”