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Analysis of Edmund Spenser's Amoretti: Sonnet 79

Analysis of Edmund Spenser's Amoretti #79


Edmund Spenser's Amoretti: Sonnet 79 centers on the idea of what true beauty is. Spenser states that true beauty comes from God, intelligence and morality are the two qualities that should be held in one's highest praises. Outer beauty fades, but inner beauty lasts forever and in the end touches more people. "The critical consensus is that this poem blends Christian and Neoplatonic terms to express the poet's vision of the force and meaning of love" (Huey 22).

The speaker tells his beloved that men call her "fayre" (fair/beautiful) and she believes it, because she looks herself in the mirror daily and can see that she is beautiful. The speaker tells her that her beauty is not the fairest thing about her; rather it is her "gentle wit" (intelligence) and "virtuous mind" (moral, chaste) that make her beautiful. It is her wit and virtuousness that are the two qualities that the speaker praises above all others.

No matter how beautiful you are now, in time, your looks will fade. The only thing that lasts forever is that which outlasts the flesh. Beauty is fleeting. True beauty is that which comes from within, such as wit and virtuousness. It is the only thing that is permanent and free from corruption. People judge others by how they look on the outside, so people tend to adorn themselves in fancy clothes and wear make-up to make themselves look as attractive as possible to others. The speaker states that outer beauty is not as important as inner beauty. By stressing that his beloved's inner beauty is more praiseworthy than her outer beauty shows that he knows her more intimately than others do.

True beauty proves to be both divine and comes from heaven. True beauty comes from God, the source of perfection. She is born from heaven, angelic. She is the prime example of true beauty because she comes the Lord.

The only thing that is truly fair is that which was made by Him, and everything else fades like a flower that wilts and dies.


Sources


Huey, Peggy J. The Facts on File Companion to British Poetry Before 1600. Vol. 1. Ed. Michelle M Sauer.

Spenser, Edmund. "Amoretti: Sonnet 79." The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Sixteenth Century/The Early Seventeenth Century. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: Norton, 2006. 907.

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