William Shakespeare 's Sonnet 18 Essay

William Shakespeare 's Sonnet 18 Essay

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William Shakespeare was arguably the greatest poet of all time, let alone of the renaissance period, and he certainly knew how brilliantly clever he was. Shakespeare wrote many sonnets which ultimately were callous towards their subjects. In addition to them being callous he also expertly used the final couplet to make him seem like he was a great poet whose writing was sheer awesome in the truest sense of the term, or to brag on his abilities in any way. Many, many of his sonnets show evidence of this trait. One example of this is Sonnet 18. However, sonnets 130, 116, and 65 also show evidence of this, among others. Shakespeare manages to degrade his love, summer, love in general, his love again and even beauty, all the while praising himself for his excellent writing skills, wit, and abilities.
Shakespeare is not always forthcoming about the fact that his poem is, in reality, insulting towards its subject. Sometimes he is rather discrete about it. In Sonnet 18, for example, Shakespeare begins by comparing his love to a summer’s day, quickly coming to the conclusion that she is, in fact, far greater than a summer’s day. He begins this sonnet with the well known question “shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”, and then comes right back with the answer “thou art more lovely and more temperate” (lines 1-2). However, though it seems that this is a beautiful and complimentary sonnet of love, the reality is soon evident – he does not believe that a day in the summertime is that great to begin with. The next six lines of the poem explain just that. Shakespeare uses many examples of qualities that are less than lovely, and are dislikable about the summertime. He claims that summer can be too windy, too short, too hot, and that is it ...


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...since he is right, and they are wrong. He also says that if he is proven wrong then he has never really written, which we know to be false. It is evident that he is very confident in himself, his ideas, and his writing, time and time again in his poems, but this may be the most self-centered sonnet that he wrote.
Love and his lovers are not the only things that Shakespeare makes snide remarks about. In his sixty-fifth sonnet he also makes such remarks about beauty. He claims that beauty is weak and fragile, and that it cannot protect itself. This sonnet describes toughness and rage and shows that beauty is no match for such things. He regards beauty as vulnerable when he says that since “rocks impregnable are not so stout, nor gates of steel so strong” to beat the power of time, and questions how, in this case, beauty would be able to attempt to do the same (5-8).

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