A Summer Love
William Shakespeare wrote about many people, places, and things throughout his life. What he might be most remembered for are his writings about love. None might be better than his sonnet 18. Shakespeare uses imagery, personification, unusual techniques and remarkable feelings in this declaration. Few have matched such a task including himself. This short sonnet number 18 is one of the best known and most loved of all 154 poems. Mabillard states that “It is also one of the most straightforward in language and intent” (Mabillard).
Shakespeare starts the sonnet by the praise of his lady friend without ostentation, but he slowly builds the image of his lady friend into that of a perfect being. Shakespeare illustrates that as history writes itself down in the books, his friend or loved lady, will become one with time. The poet's hope that as long as there is breath in mankind, his poetry too will live on. Shakespeare uses a vast amount of imagery in his sonnet. Each line adds to his feeling and thoughts through flowing visions and comparisons. “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, / And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” (Kennedy and Gioia). This line down plays summer and shows the negatives of the season. Shakespeare gives the fact sharp winds attack what beautiful flowers the ground and trees put out in the spring. This asks the question; if summer is so nice and perfect, how could it do this to something so lovely as the small buds on a tree or a flower? The next line suggests summer is short and ends far to quickly for most people’s liking. Shakespeare’s love could never end like summer does. He knows there is no limit such as time to his feelings and thoughts.
Throughout the sonnet, Shakespeare combines personification and imagery to add to the effect on the mind’s eye and its view of his love. “Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, / And often is his gold complexion dimmed” (Kennedy and Gioia) are two lines which show this perfectly. Ray says that “Complexion in line 6 refers only to physical appearance in the face and that it points to the face of the personified sun” (Ray). Shakespeare puts down the sun which is often a favorite part of most people during summer. He also states “Shakespeare certainly also assumes the other meaning of ‘complexion’ most c...
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...akespeare indented them. Therefore, they stand out and are very prominent. Being at the end of the sonnet was not enough for Shakespeare final emphasis. He had to thrust them out of the page at all who can see. This shows he is completely and utterly serious about his love if the other lines did not prove it. A strong beginning and ending just like his love.
This sonnet is the prototype for one’s feelings on love. Though it is not for sure who Shakespeare is writing to, one thing is certain: his love is everlasting and beautiful. He describes his feelings almost as well as he feels them and gives the same feelings to the audience. He outdid himself with his work and few things can match his words and heart he put into this sonnet.
Kennedy X.J. and Dana Gioia, eds. Literature: An Introduction. 9th ed. New York: Longman, 2005. pg 815-816.
Ray, Robert H. "Shakespeare's Sonnet 18." The Explicator. Washington:
Fall 1994. Vol. 53, Iss. 1, p 10-11.
Mabillard, Amanda. "An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18". Shakespeare Online. 2000. June 26, 2005. .
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