Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sonnet 18

Let me tell you about an experience I had over Christmas break. My mom, my sister, and I watched two chick flicks: The Young Victoria and Bright Star. In the former the two love birds, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were portrayed as two very sensible people who loved each other, but had a healthy balance of romantic emotion and practicality. Well, I was a sucker for it and fell in love with the movie. In Bright Star, however, the characters were obsessive about each other and their lives were consumed with romance. There was even a scene where Fanny, the main female character, slits her wrist because a letter she got from her lover was too short. This movie turned me off, and I was left feeling repulsed by these extreme characters.

So, when I read Sonnet 18 I was intrigued with the idea that temperance is more attractive than extremity. Shakespeare's line, "Thou art more lovely and more temperate" is a contrast with other phrases within the sonnet such as "rough winds", "too short", and "too hot". I agree with Shakespeare on this one. But why does our culture sometimes prefer such fanatical obsession? Why do some people prefer irrational characters who give in too often to their emotions (I'm thinking of Twilight. Are you?)? I think it might have to do with some sort of cultural conditioning. People within the Victorian age highly favored reason. What was the view of people in Shakespeare's time and how is it different is it today? Any ideas?