Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 Essay

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. The theme of the poem is to show the speakers true interpretation of beauty. Beauties worst enemy is time and although beauty might fade it can still live on through a person's memory or words of a poem. The speaker realizes that beauty, like the subject of the poem, will remain perfect not in the eyes of the beholder but the eyes of those who read the poem. The idea of beauty living through the words of a poem is tactfully reinforced throughout the poem using linking devices such as similes and metaphors.

The poet starts off the poem with a metaphoric Question of whether he "Shall compare thee to a summer's day?" this is a positive question asking whether the beauty of the summer is worthy of that compared to his lover/mistress. This is an effective metaphor because it suggests that the woman is either more or equally beautiful as the calm and warm summer which reinforces the idea of everlasting beauty. A summer day is calm and generally suppose to be filled with life and the beauty of the nature, which alludes to the beloveds' beauty. In line three of the poem the speaker compares the beloved to the summer day which is imperfect compared to the beloved. The summer is flawed in that it has "rough winds" which alludes to the idea that the beloved is perfect and is in fact superior to a summer day. The linking devices in these two lines of the sonnet enhance the theme by portraying the idea that even love can be more beautiful then the beauty of nature.

Shakespeare uses two powerful metaphors in line five and in line six to compare the summer's imperfections to the perfection of the beloved. In line five he uses a metaphor "Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines" to describe that in the summer the sun gets to hot and this is yet another imperfection of a summer day which the beloved is superior to. Although some may compare there...

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