The poem Sonnet 18 was written by William Shakespeare. A poet from the 17th century who was a renowned writer for his works on theater and poems. Sonnet 18 describes the power of love and immortality of the poem and himself as long as men walk the earth. He gives a message of eternal beauty and love through out the poem with his selective word choices. He describes the beauty of the poem as immortal as long as men breathe, due to the beauty of the poem and love of the men. The poem is effective due to his literary techniques of using metaphors of summer and descriptive language of pathos for his comparisons and surroundings.
Shakespeare uses many descriptions of summer, love, and the eternal beauty of the poem. The main comparison of the poem is the beauty of a person and summer. Both are major parts to the argument, which is the poems eternal life. Shakespeare speaks about a person that is more beautiful than summer and uses words to show the struggling times before summer. He uses emotions of death and eternal life to bring out the emotions of the reader and uses descriptions of a perfect summer as a bridge to relate to the person and reader, knowing that summer is the most perfect season.
He argues that time changes all things but the beauty of the person will be eternal within the poem itself. William Shakespeare opens up Sonnet 18 with a question “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” (Shakespeare 1). He does this to compare a person to a summer day which he believes that a summer day is perfect. Shakespeare compares him to summer for the reason that summer is the most beloved and the most beautiful of all the season. The continued verse compares a man to the perfect weather and love of summer while saying he is more beautiful and evenly tempered then summer itself.
Using the month of may and strong winds specifically to describe the month before summer, he infers that all the seasons before summer are sad and rough. With his next sentence, Shakespeare says that summer is too short, this is due to the beauty of the man that unlike the summer days, his beauty never fades away. He describes how hot the sun gets in the summer using the words “eye of heaven“ (Shakespeare 5) to describe the sun. The metaphor can be interpreted that while using the “eye of heaven”, he is referring to the sunlight that whatever it touches upon not only shines but is also what heaven sees.
The next verse talks about a dimmed complexion of the sun, which is the clouds blocking the sun out and what heaven sees of his immortality. Shakespeare uses time as a median for beauty. That beauty will fade and what you see as beautiful will no longer be, he uses this sentence to build up to the conclusion. The change in beauty is by misfortune or natures planned course of aging. Shakespeare next verse ties it all together “But thy eternal summer shall not fade” (Shakespeare 9). He refers back to summer and how his summer will never fade, this is a reference to his youth.
That unlike a short but perfect summer, his summer will never fade like the sun covered by the clouds. Adding to his youth that like it, his beauty will never fade and that death will never come to him. Shakespeare uses the emotions of death to really emphasizes the eternal love, youth, and beauty of the poem. His immortality does not lay with the fountain of youth but instead within his poem. “When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st” (Shakespeare 12). Shakespeare explains that due to his verses, he will live for eternity within the lines of his poem.
As long as there are people who breathe and see on this earth, he says that the beauty of the poem and himself will be eternally remembered. “So long lives this, and this gives life to the” (Shakespeare 14). In this final verse, Shakespeare explains that as long as this poem lives on to see the eyes of man. The poem will give life to him for eternity. William Shakespeare was one of the greatest poets of all time and in this poem, he shows his greatness. The poem Sonnet 18 is about beauty, love and immortality all mixed within the descriptions of summer, death, and time.
This poem is mainly an argument of his self-gloat being represented in his poems eternal life. Shakespeare uses death in the poem to act as a opposing force that will take his physical life but will never succeed in taking the life, he has written within the poem. Using the death as a one of his examples, Shakespeare connects with everyone who reads the poem. This is due to the fact that they all share one thing in common and that is death. Shakespeare’s poem could have been more effective if he had transitioned from the winter months into summer, describing the gloomy seasons before entering summer.
This would have lead the read to a emotional low point only to end and a high point. In this poem Shakespeare talks a lot about summer and all its greatness. He describes summer as beautiful and lovely, but as they poem continues you can see that theme summer starts to become faded as, he transitions to talk about the beauty and eternal life of himself and the poem. To conclude the poem you can essentially see that in the poem Shakespeare and summer had become one in the same.
Subject: William Shakespeare,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 25 December 2016
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