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Her Breath

Symbol Analysis

Faults such as your hair not being just right, or your eyes being the wrong color, might be easy to overlook; but bad breath, that's something else altogether. Shakespeare seems to be having fun here, pushing his gross-out portrait as far as it will go.

  • Line 8: The word "reeks" brings up a really strong image of just how far from perfect this woman is. By hitting us over the head with her very human flaws, the speaker forces us to take a look at our definitions of female beauty. Just like the "black wires" (line 4), this line pushes our boundaries a little, turning the love poem into a criticism, but a pretty fun one.

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