Sonnet 18's Eternal Beauty Essay

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. Specifically the speaker talks about the beauty of the one he loves. Love emphasizes the theme of beauty throughout the poem."Sonnet 18" focuses on the immense beauty of a woman, which surpasses the beauty of summer. The speaker intends to preserve her beauty by having people read this poem. It begins with the question, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" (1,), which sets up the comparison for the rest of the poem. The poem says the woman is "more lovely and more temperate" than summer in the second line. In this phrase, temperate is another way of saying moderate. Therefore, the speaker is emphasizing the woman's beauty by saying that she is more lovely and moderate than a summer's day. Shakespeare uses 'temperate' to describe summer because it can be mild and not extravagant. The woman is not temperate because she always looks exuberant and pleasant. By using summer, a season that is generally thought to be beautiful, as a contrast to the beauty of the woman, it is clear that this woman is extraordinarily stunning in the eyes of the speaker. He goes on to say that "Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May" (3). "Rough winds" are seen as imperfections in summer, but when examining the woman, the speaker is unable to find such imperfections. He implies that there are no such faults in the woman, but there are in summer. Therefore, in comparison, she is without a doubt the better of the two.Throughout the poem, more faults are found in the season of summer. The speaker writes that summer has "all too short a date" (4). The beauty of summer does not last eternally because other seasons occur throughout the year. However, the beauty of the woman is not limited like the season of summer. He is trying to explain that her beauty is eternal and does not fade after a period of time. Line five says that at times "too hot the eye of heaven shines" meaning that the sun can be too hot sometimes, but follows this by stating "often is his gold complexion dimm'd" (6). This says that at times the sun is also not warm enough. In contrast to unpredictable conditions of summer, the speaker says that the woman's "eternal summer shall not fade" (9). The eternal summer here is the eternal beauty of the woman which differs from the typical fading beauty of summer. This is important because it is a way of looking...

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