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Natural Elements as a Comparison in Shakespeare’s Poems In the poems “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” and “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun”, William Shakespeare compares his loved ones to nature. He uses natural elements in order to show that nature is superior to human beings. However, the poet comes to the conclusion that despite the fact that nature is more perfect than human beings, he loves his lovers more than nature for the unique qualities that human beings have over nature.
Already from the titles of the poems, one can notice that nature is superior to humankind. In the poem “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun” the reader can assume that the writer thinks that the sun is more beautiful and is better than his mistress’ eyes. The sun is a symbol of happiness and the joy of life.
When the writer sees the sun’s rays it gives him joy. By saying that his mistress’ eyes do not look like the sun it means that when he looks at her eyes she does not reflect happiness or joy. Her eyes do not shine like the sun. The nature appears more powerful than humankind. In the title of the poem “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?”, Shakespeare is debating whether or not his love one is worth being compare to a summer day.
Unlike the first poem, the poet does not know what the answer is from the title or whether it is fair to compare nature to her. However, as the reader read through the poem he gets an answer from the poet. Just the thought whether his loved one is worth being compared to nature gives away the poet’s assumption that nature is superior to humankind. Throughout all the poem “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun”, Shakespeare shows how nature is better than his loved one by comparing nature and his mistress. He shows all the great things of nature and all the faults of humans. For instance, he shows how colorful and lovely the colors of the roses are but his lover does not seem to have this colors on her cheeks. “I have seen rosesdamask’d, red and white,/ but no such roses see I in her cheeks.” (537; 5-6) To show the perfection of nature, Shakespeare compares the color of snow to the color of his mistress breasts. He wonders why the color of her breasts are grayish- brown if the color of the snow is white, “If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;” ( l. 3). Nature can make snow to be white, which is a perfect color where human colors are not so perfect, and therefore nature again is appeared to be more superior than human beings. Shakespeare also compares his mistress’ lips to coral. He thinks that her lips are not as red as a coral is. “Coral is far more red than her lips’ red” ( l.2). Coral color is a very bright red. He suggests that his mistress’ lips do not have the bright red color that coral has. Once again Shakespeare shows humankind faults, and nature’s perfection. Shakespeare uses the summer season as a natural element in order to compare his lover to it in the poem “shall I Compare Thee To a Summer Day?”. He is not sure whether or not his lover is like summer’s day. According to Shakespeare, life pass fast like summer. Before you know it summer and life are over. As the summer gets to its end, you can feel the cold air and the change from summer to fall. The same is with life. As life gets to the end the person is physically changes, and he can feel the end. However, Shakespeare believes that his loved one beauty is for eternity. She will remain beautiful forever. ” And every fair from fair sometimes declines, by chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed; But the eternal summer shall not fade, nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;” ( p.507 l. 7-10) In the beginning nature is superior than humans because unlike human being summer keeps coming back. Once his loved one died she won’t come back. However nature seems inferior at the end since his loved one beauty is for eternity. In “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?”, Shakespeare makes use of how powerful nature is compared to that of human beings. An example for that is when he shows how the sun has control over the skin color of humankind. “Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,/ And often in his gold complexion dimmed;” ( l. 5-6) When it is too hot the sun has the ability to make the skin color of man darker. Not only nature is superior to human, it is also has the power over it. This lines emphasize how the role of the nature is much greater than the Humankind’s role. In “My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing like the Sun”, after showing throughout all the poem the inferiority of human being to nature, Shakespeare changed his attitude by saying that despite his mistress faults and despite the fact that nature is superior to her, he loves her more than nature. ” And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare/ As any she belied with false compare”. (l.13-14) Shakespeare loves his mistress so much, and he realizes that the way he compared her to nature does not represent the way he feels about her, and it does not represent her. After all she is not as inferior to nature as he thought in the beginning. In “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?”, at the end of the poem Shakespeare came to the conclusion that his loved one can not be compared to nature. His love to her is for eternity, and despite the fact that nature has more control and power he will not give up his love. The comparison of summer to his loved one is fault, since the love for summer can fade at some point but his loved to her will never fade. As long as there is life in this world, she will live as well. ” So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,/ So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.” (l. 13-14). In both poems Shakespeare love to his lovers is much greater and superior than nature. In the beginning, it seems as if nature is superior to human but at the end of every poem both the poet and the reader come to the conclusion that nature after all is inferior to human beings. The appearance and power of nature may be superior to humans but humankind has their own unique qualities within that makes
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