We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

It’s Well Known That Life Eventually Ends, but Does It Work the Same Way With Love?

The whole doc is available only for registered users
  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1068
  • Category: Beloved

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

Shakespeare challenges the idea of infinite love in his widely famous love Sonnet, Sonnet 18. William Shakespeare is a famous poet of the 16th century. He was born in 1564 in Stratford and became famous as a playwright in London. This Sonnet is the eighteenth out of the hundred and fifty-four poems in William Shakespeare’s huge series of sonnets published in 1609. A sonnet is an early modern poem, written in fourteen lines, usually in iambic pentameter, with rhymes arranged according to one of the certain definite schemes, constructed of three quatrains and ending in one couplet. The rhyme scheme of the poem goes in an AB-AB-AB- AB-AB-AB-CC pattern. It thoroughly expresses a single, thought or a single feeling. Sonnet eighteen is considered to be one of the most beautiful and lovely poems in the English language and also assumed to be addressed to a male subject, which wasn’t very common in the early modern period. The young man to whom the poem is addressed, not surprisingly, seems to be the muse or the prime aggressor for Shakespeare’s first hundred and twenty-six sonnets.

The first two quatrains of the sonnet, portray the question of the central dilemma that the author is trying to demonstrate. Shakespeare’s begins his poem with the opening line “ Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? ”, which sounds like a dare or a challenge, it almost seems like he is asking or directly addressing whomever the poem is addressed to if he shall go ahead and make that metaphoric comparison. Summer is a warm, happy time of the year often associated with rest and recreation. Shakespeare compares his beloved’s qualities, virtue and their beauty to a summer’s day. Which reflects the pastoral style of poetry he uses in the first line. In the second line, “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”: the repetition of the word ‘more’ shows that his loveliness and temperance exceeds those of a summer’s day. “ Rough winds do shake the darling bud of May” In the above quote, Shakespeare describes the fragility and short duration of summer’s beauty. The use of the word ‘lease’ reminds the reader of the fact that everything beautiful remains so for a limited time only and after a while, its beauty will be forcibly taken away. He then portraits off a list of reasons why summer isn’t all that great: winds shake the buds that emerged in Spring, summer ends too quickly, and the sun can get too hot or be shadowed by clouds. It becomes clear that his love for him rises above the beauty of nature.

In the second quatrain, Shakespeare continues his criticisms of the summer’s day. At this point, however, he focuses on the imperfection of the sun and explains that it is temporary and, like other aspects of the summer, tends towards unpleasant situations: “Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed,” Shakespeare realizes that the natural world as it seems isn’t the adequate comparison for his beloved inline five. He states that the sun, which he metaphorically refers to as ‘the eye of heaven’, can be too hot or blocked from view by the clouds, unlike his ‘more temperate’ love. Line seven, it is said : “And often every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed” the repetition of the word ‘fair’ highlights the fact that nothing can escape fate and therefore, everything of beauty will at some point diminish or decline no matter of its different aspects.

The turning point of this Shakespearean sonnet happens in the third quatrain, in line nine when he writes:

“ But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade.

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st ”

He turns the previous questions, statement or central dilemma positioned in the first quatrains, into a response that changes the whole point of the poem. The turning point is emphasized by the use of the word ‘but’. We can easily see the problem that is stated in those lines which are the issue of eternal summer. What will happen if summer never ends? What will happen if it is all pleasure and no pain? Wouldn’t that become too idyllic to the point of it being unhuman? It seems that he doesn’t have the option of comparing his beloved to a summer’s day anymore, since those days are “ too short” (line 4), “too hot” (line 5), “The decline” (line 7). Later on, in line 10, “ Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest”,stating : his lovers beauty will never decline, which contradicts his own statement of that everything of beauty will diminish at some point, in the above stanza ( line 7) “ And every fair from fair sometime declines,”. Since the turning point, the author, shifted his focus from nature, in the first two quatrains, to his love in the final quatrain. There is a prominent repeat of the word ‘eternal’ showing the emphasis of his eternal love for his lover. The mention of eternal lines ( line 12) provides us with the assumption that his love will only grow with time within those eternal lines. The couplet, “ So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee “ is the final answer to what is meant by those eternal lines. The integrity and meaning of the couplet relies on the words ‘this’. It seems that ‘this’ refers to those famous eternal lines that allow the love to “ grow”, and as long as men live and see, it will fuel his love it will metaphorically, never allowing it to stop growing.

In conclusion, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 successfully portrays the themes of love, beauty and the effect of time on it through a variety of techniques and effective use of an iambic pentameter. He engages in comparing the eternal love for his beloved and the nature of a summer’s day throughout the lines of the Sonnet. Then suddenly he decides to completely turn his comparison around, which ends by a contradicting turn in the plot. The main point of this Sonnet is him showing how his love for thee will never end, being it like a summer’s day or not. It will continue growing even beyond all living things.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59