Sonnet 18 Summary & Analysis

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Sonnet 18 Summary & Analysis

About Poem: Sonnet 18

Poem TitleSonnet 18
AuthorWilliam Shakespeare
Date of publication1609
ThemeLove, beauty, and immortality
Key literary devicesMetaphor, simile, personification, hyperbole, and metonymy
Famous lines-Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
-Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Sonnet 18 Poem

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;

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:

   So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

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Sonnet 18 Summary & Analysis

Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare is one of the most famous and beloved sonnets in the English language. It is also known by its opening line, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” This sonnet, like many others in the Shakespearean sonnet tradition, consists of 14 lines and follows a strict rhyme scheme (abab cdcd efef gg). It explores themes of love, beauty, and immortality, using the metaphor of a summer’s day.

Stanza 1

The speaker begins by contemplating whether he should compare the object of his affection to a summer’s day. He questions if it is appropriate, as the object of his admiration transcends the fleeting and temperate nature of summer. The first two lines set the tone for the poem and establish the central question.

Stanza 2

In the second stanza, the speaker describes the shortcomings of a typical summer’s day. He acknowledges that summer is often too short and too hot, with its beauty marred by rough winds and the sun’s intense heat. The speaker emphasizes the transient and imperfect nature of the season.

Stanza 3

The third stanza marks a significant shift in the poem. The speaker begins to extol the virtues and enduring qualities of the person he’s addressing. He suggests that the person’s beauty is more constant and temperate than a summer’s day. While the summer’s beauty may fade, the beloved’s beauty remains constant.

Stanza 4

The speaker declares that the beloved’s beauty will never diminish because it has been immortalized in the words of the poem. He claims that as long as people read this poem, the beauty and youth of the person it describes will remain alive, defying the ravages of time and the limitations of a human lifespan.

FAQs for Sonnet 18

What is Sonnet 18 mainly about?

Sonnet 18 is about the speaker’s love for the beloved, and their belief that the beloved’s beauty will be immortalized through poetry.

What is the emotion of Sonnet 18?

The emotion of Sonnet 18 is a deep and enduring love, celebrating the beauty and immortality of the beloved.

What is the main theme of Sonnet 18?

The main theme of Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare is the immortality of love and beauty through poetry.

What type of poem is Sonnet 18 considered?

Sonnet 18 is considered a Shakespearean or English sonnet.

What is the conclusion of Sonnet 18?

The conclusion of Sonnet 18 is that the beloved’s beauty will be immortalized through poetry.

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