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Shall I compare thee to a summers day – William Shakespeare

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In the sonnet ‘Shall I compare Thee To A Summers Day’ The poet William Shakespeare uses countless types of imagery but the question is which types can be interpreted as beautiful and which part would be interpreted as anything but beautiful.

‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate’

Shakespeare starts this sonnet with a rhetorical question which he answers in the second line. In these two lines Shakespeare establishes his feelings for the woman that he loves comparing her to summer It is during this time when the flowers are blooming, trees are full of leaves, the weather is warm, and it is generally thought of as an enjoyable time during the year. He then goes on to say no you are a great deal more beautiful more warm more loving than the summer in his opinion.

‘Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summers lease hath all too short a date’

These two lines do not mention his lover at all. These two lines tell us about the faults that Shakespeare thinks summer has. He is saying that summer is not always perfect at the beginning during May there are rough cold winds and summer does not last very long he does not say his lover has these faults neither does he say that his lover does not.

Again the next four lines mention faults of summer and do not mention his lover. What Shakespeare is trying to say is that summer has its extremes when the sun is blistering hot and unbearable ‘Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,’ and sometimes the sun is blocked out by clouds and is not visible ‘And often is his gold complexion dimmed’. In this line Shakespeare admits that summer passes too fast and the sun begins to set earlier at night because autumn is approaching it also means that the chilling of autumn is coming upon us because the flowers will soon be withering ‘And every fair from fair sometime declines,’ He say that nature has an unpredictable faith ands is untrimmed or rough around the edges ‘By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed.’

‘But thy eternal summer shall not fade’ This line is extremely exquisite as he has said Her beauty will be one that lasts forever and he contradicts what he said before about the summer mentioning that all the faults that summer has she doesn’t have a single trace of. ‘ Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st’ this say that he thinks that she will never lose he beauty for as long as she will live unlike the summer whose beauty slowly fades away and slowly turns in to autumn. ‘ Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade’ Shakespeare personifies death and says when death finally catches up to you he will not boast and show off and will instead keep you under his shade and take care of you as I would have done.

The last two lines are rhyming couplets which sum up the whole poem to give it a picturesque ending by saying that his lover’s beauty will accomplish this everlasting life unlike a summer. And it is because her beauty is kept alive in this poem, which will last forever. It is also saying that anyone who read the poem who does not know you will still remember you as a beautiful woman which will give life to his lover and will prolong her beauty

‘So as long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this gives life to thee’

There are many aspects of the poem that people may interpret as not beautiful maybe insulting in some ways especially the use of imagery that is very vague. ‘Shall I compare thee to a summers day?’ All people are individuals and sometimes people may not want to be compared to somebody or something for that matter.

‘And summers lease hath all too short a date’ ‘And every fair from fair sometime decline’ This part is very confusing as Shakespeare did not say but you my lover are not like this you do not have these faults until much later in the sonnet which is very misleading and if take in this way quite a bit insulting.

This point is made implicitly throughout the whole poem. All Shakespeare talks about is the outer beauty of the women and not her inner beauty and her personality which makes this sonnet seen like he is not deeply in love with as he expresses his love as only skin deep.

In the last 2 lines which are rhyming couplets Shakespeare says

‘So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this give life to thee’

Love is a sacred thing between two people and in this line Shakespeare implicitly says in his text that there eternal love depends on other people remembering them when really their love should depend on the feelings that they share.

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