She Walks In Beauty Analysis

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In his widely read series The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien suggested that “All that is gold does not glitter.” Though a cliché in and of itself, this complex sentiment argues that the way an individual is perceived is not always who that person is in reality. Appearances can be deceiving. In Lord Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty,” the speaker describes a golden girl who does not necessarily “glitter” in the same manner that beautiful women typically do. The speaker strays away from typical clichés and instead captures the golden aspects of the subject of his admiration in an innovative manner. Throughout “She Walks in Beauty,” the speaker employs unfamiliar imagery and comparisons in order to alter the way readers perceive beauty. Because…show more content…
Instead of employing clichés, the speaker captures the woman’s beauty by creating unexpected comparisons. For example, the speaker compares the woman of his admiration to night, “She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies” (1-2). The woman, then, is like an impeccably clear sky marked only by bright stars at night. This comparison catches readers off guard because in art and poetry, beautiful women are typically compared to light - not the darkness of night. In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, for example, the speaker immediately compares the subject of his admiration to a bright, sunny day, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate” (1-2). This light, found in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 and many other famous works of art, often signifies beauty. In other words, beautiful women are often compared to light and day while they are rarely compared to darkness and night. Because of its prominence in art and literature, comparing a woman to “a summer’s day” - to light and warmth - has become “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought;” it has become a cliché (dictionary.com). Because many individuals have heard this phrase a countless number of times, they are desensitized to its meaning. A woman who is described as a “summer’s day” is no longer strikingly beautiful as the phrase once suggested. Instead, she is simply like many other women who have been described in the same words. Because clichés do not make the brain work, this description does not evoke any new emotions or images in the minds of readers. In contrast, comparing a woman to the night is rarely found in works of art and literature. Thus, readers of “She Walks in Beauty” are forced to think of beauty itself in a new way. The beauty of the woman in “She Walks in Beauty” is unique. She is not simply like “a summer’s day” like so
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