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Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day


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Shakespeare is a poet full of lessons and readers today can still learn important things from his poetry. In sonnet 18 he talks about the turmoils of life, but also how they will never take the woman’s beauty. Shakespeare means that no matter what chaos life throws us, our internal beauty will not fade and our love will always be there.

First, Shakespeare speaks of a woman as beautiful as a summer’s day and right away the reader has an image. The woman is warm, bright, and beautiful and any man looking on the woman he loves feels this way. The imagery soon shifts to rough winds and the reader experiences a dark shift in the theme of the poem. All of the sudden, the beautiful summer day the reader is picturing turns dark, stormy, and windy. The imagery in this poem is essential to fully grasp the whole concept of the poem. Many of us have experienced a storm of turmoil come through our lives, and I personally know that in that time we aren’t the best version of ourselves. Shakespeare says that the winds “shake the darling buds of May,” and he means that life events can shake us but he still views his love as a beautiful flower. I know when I lost a father figure in my life to cancer I was not the most pleasant person to be around, but I had people who loved me through the storm and still saw me as a beautiful flower because of who they knew I was on the inside. In the first quatrain Shakespeare is laying the foundation on the concept of life bringing hard times.

In the second quatrain, Shakespeare talks again about the adversity in life bringing a person down. He uses personification to talk about the summer sun taking a toll as well. The sun can be connected to the summer’s day which then pulls it back to Shakespeare’s love interest. She has now become the sun through personification and it shows her at different seasons of her life. Sometimes she shines so bright that she could light up a room but often her light is dimmed. Women face an extreme amount of adversity in their lives and especially women that care deeply about others. The woman in this poem is one of those women just by the way she can light up a room. She isn’t just outwardly beautiful, but she glows from the inside as well. Women like this face a lot of hard times and heartbreak due to caring so deeply about others so it makes sense that her golden complection would be often dimmed. I can relate to this woman as life takes the same toll on me. When someone I care about is struggling, my heart hurts for them. This woman feels the same way, and her internal beauty is unmatched by anyone.

The third quatrain supports the idea that this woman’s internal beauty will not fade. “Thy eternal summer shall not fade,” the author uses strong diction to connect the first sentence of the third quatrain to the first sentence of the first quatrain. Now the reader knows that not only is this woman beautiful inside and out bust also that the beauty of hers won’t fade. He uses diction like eternal and the concept of cheating death to prove that this woman will always be beautiful. Shakespeare also emphasizes the work time in the third quatrain by capitalizing it. The woman has an eternal amount of time according to Shakespeare because he uses personification to reference the time growing. Everyone knows that time can’t be grown, and when a person runs out of time, they can’t just get more. Shakespeare believes his love interest is so beautiful that she can defy the laws of time and space. I wish I could do that when I procrastinate studying for a test.

Shakespeare’s belief in this woman’s never ending eternal beauty proves a point to the rest of the world. If we all were more internally beautiful, maybe time would move slower and maybe we could all be like a summer’s day.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day”

  1. jpric71 on February 27th, 2018 9:08 am

    I loved this article. You can learn a lot from poetry. Shakespeare is probably the best example in my opinion. Nice article!


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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day