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In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
A reading of Sonnet 141
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The idea of 141 is the discrepancy between the poet's physical senses and wits (intellect) on the one hand and his heart on the other. Shakespeare describes a woman whose appearance does not elicit love (his eyes note a thousand errors in her appearance). Her voice is not pleasing to the ear (“Nor are mine ears with thy tongue's tune delighted”); her skin not pleasing to touch (“Nor tender feeling”); and there is an unpleasant taste and smell to her (“Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited”). Yet his heart remains affectionately attached to her.
The theme of the sonnet is the dichotomy between the poet's physical senses and wits (intellect) on the one hand and his heart on the other. Acknowledging that there is nothing physically attractive about the woman and that intellectually he cannot find a good reason for the relationship, the poet nevertheless is emotionally attracted to the woman.
He seems to feel this emotional attachment is a punishment, but he gets some gratification from the relationship, which is contrary to his judgment and causes him anguish and despair.
- In the movie 10 Things I Hate About You , the main character, Kat, is assigned to write her own version of Sonnet 141.