Sharon Olds And William Shakespeare

From the Present to the Future through the Eyes of Love
Plato once said, At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet. What is Love? Love is an attraction based on sexual desires: affection and tenderness felt by lovers. (Merriam Websters Dictionary) We see a lot of love, marriage, broken-hearts, lust, and sex in today society but also in poetry we read by great authors. A poem such as Sharon Olds, Sex Without Love. Also from the past that knew the meaning of love through his plays, poems, and especially from his sonnets, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116 Let me not the marriage of true minds. I will analyze each poem and sonnet and show my own point of view and show the similarities and differences.

In Sharon Olds, Sex Without Love, she passionately describes the authors disgust for casual sex. She vividly animates the immortality of lustful sex through her language variety. Olds clever use of imagery makes this poem come to life. Her frequently uses of similes to make the audience imagine actual events. For example, Olds describes making love as Beautiful as dancers. (Sharon Olds, Line #2) In this line, she questions how one can do such a beautiful act with a person whom one is not in love with. Olds also describes sex as gliding over each other like ice skaters over the ice.(Sharon Olds, Line #3,4) She is referring to sex as a performance. Imagine an ice-skating performance, each ice skater is performing for judges and an audience to win an award. Olds uses this simile to relate people performing for one another. When two people truly are in love, there is no need for any special show or performance. Another simile the author uses is As wet as the children at birth whose mothers are going to give them away, (Sharon Olds, Line #6,7,8) to simulate a sweaty lovemaking scene. The simile light rising slowly as steam off their joined skin (Sharon Olds, Line #11,12,13) can also be used to perceive the same image of a hot, sweaty, and passionate love making scene. The author repeatedly questions how two people who are not in love can perform such a spiritual act. The simile As wet as the children at birth whose mothers are going to give them away, can also be used to represent the outcome of lustful copulation. When two people engage in sexual activities, a large percent of the mothers choose to ignore the outcome and either abort or give their children up for adoption. Olds compares the lovers with great runners. (Sharon Olds, Line #18) In this simile, she implies that lovers are alone with their own pleasures. Olds questions this selfishness throughout the poem. How can two people be alone in pleasure, when sex is supposed to be both physically and emotionally shared between lovers? Olds uses hyperbole to describe her belief that sex and God are entwined. These are the true religions, the priest, the pros, the one who will not accept a false Messiah, love the priest instead of the God. (Sharon Olds, Lines #13-17) In these lines she says that sex is more than pleasure, and if one is merely using sex for pleasure they are accepting a false God. She describes people as hypocrites who claim to love the lord, yet engage in immoral sex. In the lines, How do they come to the / come to the / come to the / God / come to the / still waters, and not love / the one who came there with them, (Sharon Olds, Lines #8-11) Olds describes two people climaxing. The choice of words wet, come, still waters, and came add to the suggestion of this climax. Olds uses the sexual imagery to address her subject as well as to convey a sense of intimacy. Olds perceives sex as spiritual, and wonders how people can bring a person with whom they are not in love with before God. Olds uses hyperbole to share her disgust of casual sex with her audience. Sharon Olds clearly despises people who engage in sex without being in love. She is able to emphasize her view in a tasteful manner by using imagery throughout her poem. Olds is able to express her disgust by using imagery to portray her objection to casual sex.

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Unlike Sharon Olds, Sex Without Love, William Shakespeare takes a different point of view on love. Sonnet 116 Let me not to the marriage of true minds, Shakespeare attempts to define love; by telling both what it is and is not. In the first quatrain, the speaker says that love– the marriage of true minds (William Shakespeare, Line 1) –is perfect and unchanging; it does not admit impediments, and it does not change when it find changes in the loved one. In the second quatrain, the speaker tells what love is through a metaphor: a guiding star to lost ships (wand ring barks (William Shakespeare, Line 7)) that are not susceptible to storms (that looks on tempests and is never shaken (William Shakespeare, Line 6)). In the third quatrain, the speaker again describes what love is not: it is not susceptible to time. Though beauty fades in time as rosy lips and cheeks come within his bending sickle’s compass, (William Shakespeare, Line 10) love does not change with hours and weeks: instead, it bears it out ev’n to the edge of doom. (William Shakespeare, Line 12) In the couplet, the speaker attests to his certainty that love is as he says: if his statements can be proved to be error, he declares, he must never have written a word, and no man can ever have been in love.
The language of Sonnet 116 is not remarkable for its imagery or metaphoric range. In fact, its imagery, particularly in the third quatrain (time wielding a sickle that ravages beauty’s rosy lips and cheeks), is rather standard within the sonnets, and its major metaphor (love as a guiding star) is hardly startling in its originality. But the language is extraordinary in that it frames its discussion of the passion of love within a very restrained, very intensely disciplined rhetorical structure. With a masterful control of rhythm and variation of tone–the heavy balance of Love’s not time’s fool (William Shakespeare, Line 9) to open the third quatrain; the declamatory O no (William Shakespeare, Line 5) to begin the second–the speaker makes an almost legalistic argument for the eternal passion of love, and the result is that the passion seems stronger and more urgent for the restraint in the speaker’s tone.

William Shakespeare and Sharon Olds both have a lot of similarities and differences. One of the similarities is they both talk about love in there own point of view. They also both use many key literary terms such as, similes and metaphors. There differences are shown from what they have to say about love. Olds talks about love in a way it is full of lust and Shakespeare attempts to define the meaning of love through marriage and time. Both authors are known for their great understanding and views of love in today society.
In today society, love and sex are synonymous. This meaning love is sex and sex is love. Society is confusing the sexual act of love with lust. Sex is pleasure and love is moral.
Citation Page
1. Merriam Webster Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/, Copyright 2001 by Merriam-Webster Inc.

2. Sharon Olds, Sex Without Love, print out, Copyright 1942
3. John Schilb & John Clifford, Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers, (William Shakespeare Let me not the marriage of true minds page 716), Copyright 2000 bye Bedford/St. Martins
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