Close Reading Of Sonnet 18 Essay

872 words - 4 pages

“Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare focuses on the beauty of the speaker’s beloved and how this beauty will inevitably fade over time. It also explains that the speaker's love for the youth will never die because it will be remembered by all who read this poem. Shakespeare makes use of metaphors and imagery to compare the subject to a summer’s day and to immortalise him through verse.
The strong use of metaphors and imagery in this sonnet enhances the power of the speaker's love. The speaker is comparing his beloved to a summer’s day. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” (1) is the first metaphor which sets the tone for the reader. In addition, it is a rhetorical question because ...view middle of the document...

The sun, referred to as the “eye of heaven” (5) can sometimes be too hot or too cold when the clouds cover the face of the sun, “[a]nd often is his gold complexion dimmed” (6). In addition, line 5 gives the reader an image of a blazing sun on a fiercely hot day, whereas line 6 provides an image of the sun being covered by clouds on a chilly, gloomy day. “And every fair from fair sometime declines/By chance or nature's changing course untrimmed” (7-8) means that everything beautiful will eventually fade and decay whether by fate or by the natural course of life. The speaker has now realized that youth and beauty of his beloved are temporary and last but briefly before they succumb to old age and death.
While the overall theme of Shakespeare's sonnets is love, the true underlying theme of Sonnet 18 is now revealed. The only way to preserve this love and this beauty is to immortalize it in verse. In the lines “But thy eternal summer shall not fade/Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st” (9-10), the speaker is promising that his beloved’s youth and beauty will never fade or be lost. He goes on to write that the youth, his love, will never succumb to death, “[n]or shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade” (11) and that, “[w]hen in eternal lines to time thou grow’st” (12), he will grow with time rather than fade away and in verse he will live forever. The...

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