Theme Of Sonnet 18

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Shakespeare’s brilliance lies in his concise, efficient use of language and “Sonnet 18” is no different. Shakespeare’s use of language is precisely the reason for his timeless legacy. In “Sonnet 18”, Shakespeare pokes fun at the typical love poetry written by many poets of his time, and often still today, which uses false comparison to highlight the beauty of another. Shakespeare’s use of structure, literary devices, and metaphor highlights his interesting subject angle and meaning. This sonnet exemplifies typical Shakespearean style including iambic pentameter, with a rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg, comprising three quatrains, and closing with a memorable couplet. Sonnet tradition is for the poem to be divided into two parts: the octave and the sestet. In the octave, the first eight lines, time is portrayed as beauty’s enemy. Through the use of language, such as “day”, in line 1, “May”, in line 3, “date”, in line 4, and “summer”, in lines 1 and 4, Shakespeare focuses attention on the passage of time. After the Volta, indicated by the word “But”, the sestet shows time as the solution. Her beauty will be eternal as long as the poem exists. In fact, it will grow for every time someone reads the poem for it is given new life and more meaning. This idea is indicated by words such as “eternal”, in line 12, and “So long as”, in line 13. The couplet, the final two lines, although part of the sestet, has the ability to stand alone and provides a strong closing of great impact. Technical devices are used throughout the poem to emphasize the overall meaning. Firstly, the use of repetition, such as “more lovely and more temperate” in line 2 and “every fair from fair” in line 7, stresses that the comparison of the lover to a summer’s day ... ... middle of paper ... ...icted as “the eye of heaven” in line 5. The “gold complexion dimmed”, described in line 6, can be interpreted both as the sun’s strength and beauty hidden by clouds, just as the lover’s beauty will be tarnished by time; thus, the thing that remains unchanged is just that: change. The structure of the sonnet with the octave representing change and the sestet reinforcing the endurance of the written words shows the depth of Shakespeare’s mastery. As the poem begins it seems as though the poem is going to be about the young lover; however, it is less a tribute to the youth’s beauty than a proclamation of Shakespeare’s assurance that his poem will be a future classic. This confidence is further displayed in the 12th line, “in eternal lines”, referring to the physical poem. By doing so, Shakespeare broke a wall through acknowledging the poem and the existence of readers.
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