I’ve mentioned Mahalo before, the “human powered search engine” that hands out tip money for good answers. In looking for some topic ideas I started a conversation on the sonnets, and already I’ve learned something. I don’t know who this Gonzo Joe fellow is (he quite literally just joined, his answer to my question is his first answer on the system). But check this out regarding Sonnet 130:
What I think is most interesting about this sonnet that no one has mentioned yet is the direct irony of the tone compared to sonnet 18. The "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" is probably the most well known of Shakespeare's sonnets among the general population because of its Hallmarkian cheesiness.
It's important to recognize that the irony is only of tone and not of theme, however. In fact, I would venture to say that 18 and 130 could be viewed as the same poem, written by the same man about the same women, the only difference being one is written in youth and the other is written at a much older age. This is, of course, not literally the case most likely, but thinking of them so does provide a nice framework for their explication.
If he’s not already hanging out here with us at Shakespeare Geek, methinks he should be :).