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Western Standards Essay

897 words - 4 pages

Brittney Montgomery
March 29, 2015
The Highest Standard of Beauty
The poem “Dim Lady” by Harryette Mullen skillfully mimics the sonnet “my mistresses’ eyes are nothing like the sun.” Mullen’s expert use of poetic structure and subject matter highlights the similarities and the differences to the original writing by Shakespeare. Despite Mullen and Shakespeare’s pieces being written more than three decades apart, Mullen identifies the same slanted view of beauty that is present in Shakespeare’s original work, although Mullen presents his view in a contemporary fashion. The poem “Dim Lady” provides current readers with a lively satire that is concerned with flawed standards of ...view middle of the document...

It would be challenging for today’s readers to clearly comprehend the message in Shakespeare’s piece because of the outdated vocabulary.
Shakespeare’s sonnet demonstrates that the idea of beauty that was present over three centuries ago is still the same today. In his sonnet, Shakespeare describes that his mistresses’ dun was not the color of snow and he also mentions that her hair is thick, black and similar to wire. These comparisons prove that the darker skin and thick hair is not a high standard of beauty. Shakespeare also points out that his mistress does not have beautiful rosy cheeks that is a sign of beauty during that period. These stereotypes that Shakespeare highlights show that the standard view of beauty has not deviated significantly over the course of three centuries.
In Mullen’s poem “Dim Lady,” there are many differences from the original piece by Shakespeare. The biggest difference between the two poems is the structures of the poems. The poems have different rhyme structures that can be easily identified at first glance. Mullen’s piece of work has an even rhyme structure and the piece reads like more of a prose. This is because the entire poem is presented like one paragraph with not indentations and the poem is punctuated with only periods. This differs from Shakespeare’s sonnet which includes multiple punctuations. Additionally, Mullen’s poem does not have the same traditional rhyme scheme that was featured throughout Shakespeare’s sonnet. In Mullen’s piece there is not one single word that rhymes with the sentence before it and there is lack of beat pattern that that shown in Shakespeare’s sonnet.
Mullen’s diction is completely opposite of the diction that is presented in Shakespeare’s sonnet. Just as Shakespeare...

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