The Definition Of Beauty In Shakespeare's Neoplatonic Beauty

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It is common knowledge that a relationship based solely on looks is bound to fail. What happens as the years go by and beauty fades? The couple is left with the incompatibilities formerly shrouded by perfect cheekbones and glittering eyes. So, what is to be learned from this? Simply put, a successful relationship must have a stronger foundation than the mortality of the physical; it must be built upon a each of the partakers in the relationship recognizing the true spiritual, emotional, and intellectual beauty in the other. Such an ideal beauty, one so much more than superficial aesthetics of a face or body, is Neoplatonic beauty. Neoplatonic beauty is the ultimate perfect, divine beauty in the universe. It is beauty that is deeper than the surface. It is beauty that is everlasting because it is not physical, but from God. Many poems composed during the Renaissance, like Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” praise the physical perfection of their lovers through writing. However, it is rarer to find a poem that truly describes Neoplatonic beauty like Edmund Spenser’s Sonnet 79, “Men call you fair, and you do credit it.” A true Neoplatonic beauty poem absolutely must describe the internal, non-superficial perfection of the individual in question, not just beauty at face value. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 is a poem in which the speaker glorifies the beauty of a woman, presumably his lover, whom he is addressing directly. The speaker

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