Immortality Through Verse In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 And Spenser’s Sonnet 75

1701 words - 7 pages

Immortality Through Verse in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 and Spenser’s Sonnet 75  

    Desiring fame, celebrity, and importance, people for centuries have yearned for the ultimately unattainable goal of immortality. Poets, too, have expressed desires in verse that their lovers remain as they are for eternity, in efforts of praise. Though Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 and Spenser’s Sonnet 75 from Amoretti both offer lovers this immortality through verse, only Spenser pairs this immortality with respect and partnership, while Shakespeare promises the subject of the sonnet immortality by unusual compliments and the assurance that she will live on as long as the sonnet continues to be read. Spenser debates with his lover, treating her as his equal, and leaves his opinion open for interpretation as an example of poetic indirection.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 begins with the "whim of an inventive mind," (Vendler, 120) a rhetorical question asking if he should compare the subject of the sonnet to a Summer’s day. After the readers see that Shakespeare does not ask to compare her to anything else, we realize that this one proposed comparison to a Summer’s day is, in his mind, perfection (Vendler, 120). However, in order to truly praise the woman, he must prove that she is "more lovely and more temperate" by deprecating the metaphor (Vendler, 121).

Though the metaphor seems sweet at first, the implied answer is "no," and Shakespeare continues as to why she is not even worthy of the best possible metaphor (Colie, 36). His imagery of "rough winds" and the "too hot" sun together with the personification of Summer ("Summer’s lease hath all too short a date") support Shakespeare’s belief that Summer is too short and unpredictable to be compared to his love. He continues in the second stanza to provide specific reasons of why the metaphor is inadequate, commenting that "Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines/ And often is his golden complexion dimmed." Summer is unpredictable in that the sun ("eye of heaven") may be covered with clouds or it may even become unbearably hot. Contrastingly, the woman is temperate, therefore she never exhibits extreme behavior comparable to the sun (Ray, 10).

Once Shakespeare concludes speaking about the Summer metaphor, he begins the third stanza with a contradiction to support the fact that the woman is not as temporary as a Summer’s day or even as a mortal human. Widening the scope of the sonnet from "day" to "Summer" and now to "Death" (Vendler, 120), he purports that her "eternal Summer shall not fade…Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade"—she will continue to be "fair" and young. Shakespeare continues the metaphor of the woman’s "eternal Summer," meaning her beauty and youth, and contends that she will not die, for "in eternal lines to time thou grow’st." The personification of death reinforces Shakespeare’s desire to "defeat Time and Death at their own war game" (Felperin, 130); by writing these lines,...

Find Another Essay On Immortality Through Verse in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 and Spenser’s Sonnet 75

The Theme in Edmund Spenser’s “Sonnet 26”

416 words - 2 pages Ashley-Anna AboredenAP English Language and CompositionTeacher: Dr. StobaughSeptember 23, 2014The Theme in Edmund Spenser's "Sonnet 26""So every sweet with sour is tempered still, / That maketh it be coveted the more." (Spenser, "Sonnet 26", lines 11-12). In Edmund Spenser's "Sonnet 26", Spenser emphasized the notion that life is made sweeter by some kind of pain or obstacle. He recorded several beautiful flowers to evidence this notion. He then

Sonnet 18 Essay

542 words - 2 pages "To be or not to be set free", now that is the question. William Shakespeare and Claude Mckay are two inspirational writters of their time. With the unique genre of Claude Mckay in his poem "If we must die" and William Shakespeare's emotional expression of love captured in "Sonnet 18". Some people can quickly say this is love and freedom, as do I. But I also see it to be a search and struggle ordeal. Being that it came from the same sort of

Sonnet 18 Analysis

967 words - 4 pages too. As stated before, William Shakespeare's Sonnet No.18 is by far one of the most famous sonnets of his, if not, even the best and most well-known. It is a dilemma to whether Shakespeare had written this to a man or a women. In my perspective, the language in this sonnet sounds especially feminine, the word 'lovely' wouldn't really be used if you were writing a poem to a male. But there is evidence that this sonnet could've been addressed to a

Shakespeare - Sonnet 18

525 words - 2 pages ended with the speaker's realization that the young man might not need children to preserve his beauty; he could also live, the speaker writes at the end of Sonnet 17, "in my rhyme." Sonnet 18, then, is the first "rhyme"--the speaker's first attempt to preserve the young man's beauty for all time. An important theme of the sonnet (as it is an important theme throughout much of the sequence) is the power of the speaker's poem to defy time and last

Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

824 words - 3 pages During the Renaissance period, most poets were writing love poems about their lovers/mistresses. The poets of this time often compared love to high, unrealistic, and unattainable beauty. Shakespeare, in his sonnet 18, continues the tradition of his time by comparing the speakers' love/mistress to the summer time of the year. It is during this time of the year that the flowers and the nature that surround them are at there peak for beauty

Shakespeare’s Most Famous Sonnet

875 words - 4 pages In his most famous sonnet of all time William Shakespeare uses imagery, metaphors and changes in meter and tone to effectively communicate to his audience and to the recipient of this poem. Sonnet 18 is a classic love poem without a clear subject. One reason that this sonnet is so popular even today is Shakespeare’s first 17 sonnets were all written as if he was talking to a young man, but in this Sonnet he never comes out and establishes the

Shakespeare’s Sonnet Number 126

594 words - 2 pages September 28, 1993A Not-Too-Critical-Essay of Shakespeare's Sonnet Number 126Shakespeare's sonnets, as poems, have been obscured by the enormous amount of speculation, much of it unjustified, that has grown up around the problems presented by the dedication. The following sonnet is commonly grouped with 125 others that are believed to have been written to a much admired young man, who was Shakespeare's junior in both years and social status.The

Sonnet 18's eternal beauty

994 words - 4 pages "Sonnet 18" is a metaphorical poem by William Shakespeare that focuses on the extreme beauty of a young lady. The poem's theme is to prevent beauty from decaying over a period of time through writing. Like all sonnets, "Sonnet 18" picks a specific thing to talk about throughout its standard fourteen lines and uses details and support to draw the reader's attention to it. In particular, this sonnet chooses to talk about the subject of love

Critical Analysis - Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

585 words - 2 pages Sonnet #18 "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" -- William Shakespeare Mood: Cheerful, praising, awestruck, confident Theme: True beauty is immortalized through art and thus prevails despite the ravages of time.Structure: Lines 1-9, 10-14 In sonnet #18, William Shakespeare reveals that through art, true beauty is immortalized and thus surmounts the ravages of time. The poet expresses an awestruck, confident and praising attitude towards his

Essay on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73

804 words - 3 pages Interpretation of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73   Sonnet 73 is a meditation on mortality, and yet it can be interpreted in a number of ways. The first such interpretation is that the author of the poem is speaking to someone else about his own death that will inevitably come in the future. This interpretation has the poem focused on the author, and his focus and concern over himself. This makes him seem very selfish, because we are all going

Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet #23

1625 words - 7 pages Shakespeare’s Sonnet #23 is addressed to the lovely young man, called WH. The speaker is trying to convey his complex feeling towards his lover. He is tongue-tied in the young man’s company and he is trying to explain this awkwardness and express his complex emotions in this sonnet. It is, the speaker says, due to the hugeness of his love, that makes it too heavy to carry. For the author this sonnet is a silent representation of his inner voice

Similar Essays

Musings On Mortality: The Theme Of Mortality In Spenser’s “Amoretti: Sonnet 75”, And Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 55” And “Sonnet 65”

1727 words - 7 pages immortality of poetry in line 11: “My verse your vertues rare shall eternise”. In the closing rhyming couplet, the speaker professes, “Where whenas death shall all the world subdew, / Our love shall live, and later life renew” (13-14). This final statement summarises the theme of mortality in “Sonnet 75”, which develops into the rejection of mortality and emphasises immortality of love through written word. Spenser’s “Sonnet 75”, and Shakespeare’s

Sonnet 18 Essay

525 words - 2 pages Amazing authors can induce thoughts by a single word. The ideas that can form in our heads by a small phrase are powerful. Only the most talented and capable authors can provoke such feelings within us. Who is more than able to stir these feelings in a reader but William Shakespeare? His various plays keep us entranced and curious but it is his poetry that strikes a chord deep within us. Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare is particularly

Sonnet 18 Essay

961 words - 4 pages Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” is simply a statement of praise about the beauty of the beloved girl; summer tends to unpleasant extremes of windiness and heat but the beloved woman is more lovely and temperate. Shakespeare deliberately chose nature to compare with love because nature is a lovely creation by God. Shakespeare uses a wide range of literary devices, such as personification, metaphysical conceits, anaphora, tone, imagery, and has

Sonnet 18 Essay

840 words - 3 pages follows a tight and metrical rhyme scheme and is a formally specific 14-line poem. "Sonnet 18" is a Shakespearian sonnet featuring three quatrains and a couplet, rhyming: abab, cdcd, efef, gg. A sonnet contains a favoured subject, which in this Sonnet, is love.In this group of sonnets, the speaker urges the young woman to marry and perpetuate her virtues through children, and warns her about the destructive power of time, age, and moral weakness