November 16, 2010

Artificial Beauty

"My lady's eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her skin is dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks,
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my lady reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My lady when she treads the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare."

This is Shakespeare's 130th sonnet (though I have edited it a bit to make it more family-friendly, if y'know what I mean). I and my classmates studied this poem in a literature class some time ago.

While this poem paints a rather unpretty picture of a lady, I like it. Shakespeare wrote this poem tongue-in-cheek; he jibes at other poets who describe their lovely ladies in exaggerated terms. For instance, in the fifth and six lines Shakespeare proclaims he has seen (heard of) red and white roses in the cheeks of other maidens, but they are not in his lady's. He's heard other lovestruck poets declare that their loves have eyes like the sun, but Shakespeare bluntly states that his lady's do not compare to that celestial orb. In short, to paraphrase what my good friend Noelle so wonderfully put it, "It's as though Shakespeare's saying, 'Quite frankly, I've never seen a woman with roses in her cheeks, snow-white skin, breath like perfume, etc.'"

I like that. The exaggerated, otherwordly beauty found in poetry (and, nowadays, in magazines and commercials) doesn't exist in real life. Yet Shakespeare wrote that though music sounded better than her voice, he still loved to hear her speak. He was content with her, a flawed mortal.


...a short video that goes to show what Shakespeare was insinuating: that ethereal, supermodel beauty is, almost always, artificial.

And lastly, please check out Noelle's blog, Seeing Beauty. I think I can honestly say hers is my favorite blog (and I've seen a lot.) Short, random, beautiful, well-written, frequent posts; all of which inspire me very, very much. 'Tis well worth your time to stop by!


Jake said...

The video was quite intriguing, Whisper... >_> But ye said all that I can think of saying already, so I leave now. :) Thankee for posting! And how is NaNoWriMo going?

whisper said...

I find it likewise intriguing, Sir Jake... I'd like to watch it in slow motion, sometime. NaNo goes well, thank you very much for inquiring! I hear you and Millard are about to begin a word war... I wish you good fortune and much verbosity in that endeavor!

Eagles Wings said...

Excelllent video, Whisper!! Most excellent. Tis sad that the level of perfection we srive for is not attainable.... If we only would go after internal beauty... Twould be most interesting to hear you extended thoughts on the matter...!!

Squeaks said...

I read that poem just a day or two ago, whisper XD I personally like it. Thanks for sharing :) :) :)


Noelle said...

Lovely post! And I thank you very much for linking to Seeing Beauty. I appreciate it, friend. Keep on shining beautifully!

whisper said...

Eagles', I concur; our culture's priorities are tragically askew. Noelle has actually posted on such matters often and eloquently. :)

Squeaks, it must be National Read Shakespeare's 130th Sonnet Month. >_> I'm glad you like it too!

Noelle, 'twas my great pleasure to point others to your blog; thank you for stopping by my own!

Brianna said...

I really like this post... this is something I am passionate about... how that "perfect" beauty we often see in ads, movies, and even read in literature just doesn't exist. Some girls think they aren't beautiful, because they don't look like so-and-so (some actor/model/singer/or whatever), but in reality, they're probably MORE beautiful than the "perfect" person! Take away the makeup, plastic surgeries, and -- the most major thing of all -- the photo alterations done on the computer, they look like just any average person. PROMISE.

So, girls, :) next time you see a perfect-looking model on a magazine cover, advertisement, etc., remember this: That smooth, spotless skin, that flawless hair, those perfect eyes; all these things are no more real than the features of an alien from a science fiction book. >_> Yes. I am not exaggerating.

And, by the way, I agree with that statement about Noelle's blog. It's very good. :-)

whisper said...

Very true, Brianna, very true! Good way of putting it. :)