Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 and Dolly Parton’s Love is Like a Butterfly Essay

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 and Dolly Parton’s Love is Like a Butterfly Essay

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“Sonnet 18”, decidedly the most celebrated of Shakespeare’s 154, was written in the early 17th century. It consists of 14 lines in iambic pentameter, each comprising of ten syllables, and utilizes the rhyming scheme abab, cdcd, efef, gg. It is typical of the sonnets written during that time period, both in its format and content. “Sonnet 18” deals with love’s relation to beauty, as well as immortalization of love and beauty through poetry. In the first two lines, Shakespeare compares the beauty of a young person, to a summer’s day. He states that the subject of the poem is in fact lovelier and “more temperate” (Shakespeare 2). In lines 3-6, he illustrates the subject’s perfection by saying that he is not affected by the flaws of summer, such as its brevity and uneven temperatures. In the following few lines, Shakespeare remarks that although everything beautiful will at some point fade away, the beauty of the subject will last forever. The beauty, and Shakespeare’s love of it, will exist forever in the lines of the sonnet. Shakespeare effectively communicates the message of the sonnet through elaborate use of literary devices, mainly metaphors. He does not use any similes; therefore the comparisons he makes are not always apparent. One of the more evident comparisons can be seen in the very first lines of the poem. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?/Thou art more lovely and more temperate” (Shakespeare 1-2). Here, Shakespeare makes his contrast of the summer and the subject obvious to the reader. In line 5, he uses a metaphor to describe the weather during summer: “Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines” (Shakespeare 5). In this metaphor the “eye of heaven” is the sun. He uses personification in the following line: “And o...


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...er” (Shakespeare 9) and “eternal lines” (Shakespeare 12) both refer to Shakespeare’s desire to immortalize the subject’s beauty. The final, and undoubtedly greatest difference between the two works, is the method of expressing them. A sonnet is meant to be recited, unlike a song, which is always accompanied by a melody and vocals. Dolly Parton’s soft and feminine voice beautifully complements the lyrics, and the upbeat music further enhances the warm and cheerful atmosphere of the song. Despite the differences in structure and time period, Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” and Dolly Parton’s “Love Is Like a Butterfly” share similar themes, and are great representations of how love can be expressed through literature.


Works Cited

Dolly Parton. Love Is Like a Butterfly. RCA, 1974. CD.
Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare's Sonnets. Ed. Tucker Brooke. London: Oxford UP: 1936.

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