Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

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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 ...

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...of the beauty and love for the beloved. In line twelve "when in eternal lines to time thou grow'st." Summer will come and go every year but the beloved will always be beautiful this is an imperfection which is trait of summer only and the beloved is immune to it. Through these lines Shakespeare further enhances the idea of the beloved being eternally beautiful.

Shakespeare's sonnet, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" is a poem that enhances the idea of beauty higher then that of nature. Shakespeare uses what most would think to be flawless beauty, nature, and makes it seem dull compared to the beauty of the beloved. Shakespeare uses figurative devices effectively to enhance the idea of eternal beauty by comparing the idea that beauty in summer comes and goes but the beauty in his beloved will be preserved through the readers of the poem eternally.
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