In all three works, “When I consider how my light is spent,” by John Milton, “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,” by William Shakespeare, and “Know It All: Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise?” by Stacey Schiff, there are common themes and ideas that ring true in each one. The most obvious of these similarities is the message that perfection is an ideal that is never reached. This important lesson is applicable to all humans who are also inherently flawed, and many have a difficult time coming to terms with their lack of perfection.
In Shakespeare’s work, he writes about “his mistress” who is by his description not very physically attractive. He, to a point, makes fun of her eyes, lips, skin, hair, cheeks, scent, voice and walk, but he concludes the poem by iterating his love for this woman. His love shows his ability to accept personal imperfections and look more at a person’s soul to judge their character. Many people would not consider this seemingly unattractive woman as a possible suitor, but because he is more enlightened than others, Shakespeare his love as a tool to teach others to accept imperfections and reject ideals.
In the poem by Milton, he focuses more on his own defects, that being his blindness. This has plagued him for half of his life, hence the line, “Ere half my days in this dark world and wide.” He overcomes this setback however and discovers his talent for language and poetry. There is however another flaw that is harder for him at accept, that of his eminent death. He alludes to death a few times, using words like “death,” “light denied,” “rest,” and “soul.” This is another flaw of his that comes through the poem and makes it possible for more people to understand and relate to it. These two struggles he presents are common to many people and the latter of the two is one that everyone will eventually deal with.
In the article by Schiff she finds flaw not with a person but with an institution. She is critical of the website Wikipedia, which is an online resource that is open to be edited by anyone who has access to the internet. The problem with the site is that there is no real authority to correct incorrect facts, and therefore it is less reliable than other sources that are thoroughly fact checked. The site also has problems with vandalism in the form of people purposely putting up false information which people may view as fact. There are many more problems for the heavily criticized website, but these two are the most prominent. Wikipedia is just another proof that nothing can be perfect; even with thousands of dedicated people trying to maintain an idea (in this case an online encyclopedia), it can never maintain perfection.