Portrayal of Love in Sonnet 18, The Sun Rising and To His Coy Mistress
The three poems studied for this, all contain material describing love
for a woman. Among this theme are other underlying messages being
projected to attentive readers but the theme which will most probably
be initially remarked upon or noticed by someone reading these poems
for the first time will be their dedication to the female form.
Sonnet 18 by Shakespeare begins with what seems like an ode to a
special person, we can assume is a women. Shakespeare uses terms such
as "lovely" and "darling" in order to describe the image which he
wants to portray of this particular person. These descriptions
initially seem entirely complimentary towards the subject seemingly
implying that she is full of love. However, the word "temperate" is
also used in the same phrase as "lovely". Temperate meaning not too
hot or too cold, seems to imply that the subject being discussed is
average. These too words used side by side seem to imply a
contradiction within that particular phrase. The word "temperate" in
this phrase could also be describing the subject's personality as
average, nothing special. This would make the phrase quite a complete
description if that were the case, as we would have the physical
description as "lovely" in juxtaposition with the description of the
personality as perfectly ok, average, nothing special.
Shakespeare continues by stating that the summer seems to be too short
with "summer's lease hath all too short a date". It seems that the
subject is described as perfect during the summer but as in the
previous phrase "Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May", the
subject is not quite as wonderful in the spring where he or she is not
at peak potential as in the summertime.
The poem seems to change into a darker tone afterwards with the phrase
"Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines" this shows us that
Shakespeare seems to be thinking that even good things can become
unbearable and unpleasant in excessive quantities. This contradicts
his thoughts on summer seeming too short as he states that one can
have too much of a good thing. He continues this sentiment with "often
is his gold complexion dimm'd", gold being one of the most precious
and beautiful substances on earth has an amazing lustre. Here
Shakespeare describes the subject as having a complexion of one of the
most beautiful substances but which doesn't live up to its beauty and
is therefore 'dimmed'.
Throughout the sonnet the words "lease", "fair" and "owe" crop up.
These words seem to imply that the subject of the poem owes their
beauty to something, in my opinion, the divine sun and the summer.
The last two lines of the poem, "So long as men can breathe or eyes
can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee.", seem to