Historical Context in Sonnet 130

Historical Context Examples in Sonnet 130:

Sonnet 130 2

"speak..."   (Sonnet 130)

Women in Petrarchan Sonnets were traditionally silent. The sonnet consisted of the speaker talking about the woman rather than the speaker listening to them speak. Here, the speaker again breaks with the conventions of the sonnet tradition by claiming that his mistress’ voice is the thing he loves most about her, not her physical appearance.

"red and white..."   (Sonnet 130)

Red and white were archetypal symbols for beauty and purity in medieval love poetry. They come from the red and white cross featured on the banners of Saint George, the patron saint of England. Throughout the medieval courtly love tradition, red and white are used to symbolize valiant knights and honorable ladies.