The three sonnets I have chosen to use are, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” by William Shakespeare, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and “Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea” also by William Shakespeare. In these three sonnets I will explore the themes of beauty/love, eternity and time. I have chosen these three sonnets because they're all different yet all explore similar themes.
The theme of love and beauty is explored in all of these sonnets. With “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Shakespeare is speaking about how her beauty will last forever even though he compares his lover to summer he states that her beauty will be much longer than summer because,
Summer’s lease hath all too short a date and thy eternal summer shall not fade, this is because unlike her beauty, summer is temporal and will not last forever whereas her beauty will exist beyond time, as it is eternal. However with, “Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea” he seems to doubt the strength of her beauty,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, whose action is no stronger than a flower? this is because of beauty can be seen as weak however he values beauty, and thinks that its gentle and can get crushed because it is facing a much more physical threat and I think that Shakespeare is trying to make us think that beauty cannot win. In, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” Browning uses many repetitions to get her point across and to prove her love,
I love thee, I think this is because she wants to show not only the strength of her love but also her passion and dedication for him as she constantly repeats herself.
The theme of eternity plays an important role in all of these sonnets. In, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Shakespeare mentions the word eternity twice throughout the sonnet when talking about the subject of the sonnet and when talking about time, however he could mean it in two ways, the eternity of their love or the eternity of time. In the final line of this sonnet, life is in both sides of the sentence,
so long lives this, and this gives life to thee, it’s explaining that the sonnet is giving life to her beauty and this reminds me of the circle of life with connects to eternity as the circle of life will go on. With, “Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea”, it’s makes you want to know whether eternity is important in the sonnet because it is quite hard to tell without completing the sonnet. Throughout the sonnet Shakespeare speaks about physically strong elements,
Nor gates of steel so strong but time decays, this explains that however strong they might be or how big they are they cannot be eternal or last forever. In, “How do I love thee?” I think Browning believes that whatever happens her love will last forever,
For the ends of being and ideal grace, I think this means even when the world is over her love will exist because...