William line 1, he starts the poem with

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William Shakespeares Sonnet 18 is one of one hundred fifty four poems of
fourteen lines written in Iambic Pentameter. These sonnets exclusively employ
the rhyme scheme, which has come to be called the Shakespearean Sonnet. The
sonnets are composed of an octet and sestet and typically progress through three
quatrains to a concluding couplet. It also contains figurative language and
different poetic devices used to create unique effects in his sonnets.

Shakespeares sonnets consist of words constructed in a certain manner or
form, thoughts, emotion and poetic devices. One way to interpret the sonnet is
to think of thee that Shakespeare is referring to as a person. Following
that line of thought the sonnet could read that Shakespeare is in love with
someone who is consistently beautiful. He tries to compare this person to summer
but summer is not as beautiful or constant. This person in Shakespeares eyes
will never grow old and ugly and not even Death can say that his persons end
is near. In line 1, he starts the poem with a question. He asks if he should
compare the person to a summers day but ends up not doing so realizing that
the person is superior. In the following 7 lines of this sonnet, he begins to
show the differences between the person and a summers day. He explains that
the persons characteristics is moderate and comfortable and has favorable
qualities in line 2. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, (line
3) means that the rough winds of the summer can destroy the buds of the flowers
and his particular person has no such trait. In the forth line of the sonnet,
Shakespeare justifies how summer is too short and how his lovers beauty does
not end like this specific season does. In the next two lines, lines 5 and 6,
the superb poet interpret the summers temperature. He explains how the summer
can be extremely hot and uncomfortable. He also describes how the sun can be
dulled due to the covering of clouds. It can obscure or shadow the earth, unlike
the shining beauty of his lover. Although Sonnet 18 is an extended metaphor,
line 7 has a literal meaning that explains itself: And every fair from fair
sometime declines, With fair meaning beautiful, he is saying that everything
that is beautiful must come to an end and that all beauty fades except the one
of his lover. The next line is an example of the reasons why beauty fades.

Chance makes beauty fade by something dreadful happening. He says that natures
changing course untrimmed meaning that the seasons changing direction, path or
time can deteriorate beauty. In line 8, the turning point of the sonnet,
Shakespeare specifies that something is changing by using the simple word But.

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He goes on to explain that the persons beauty will not die. He itemizes
eternal to mean that the persons charm will live forever. You are not going
to lose possession of that beauty that you own, Shakespeare explains in line 10.

In the eleventh line of the sonnet, he says that Death wont be able to brag
that he has possession of the persons beauty. In other words, the beloved will
never die. At the end of the sonnet, he writes about eternal lines which
symbolizes that the beloveds beauty will grow in this poem forever. In the
last two lines of this poem, lines 13 and 14, the poet means that as long as
people read this poem, that the beloveds beauty will live. He also describes
how the person will live in the spirit and beauty of the poem. It could also
represent the poem itself, which keeps the person beautiful forever. This sonnet
has a basic form or structure. In this sonnet there are fourteen lines divided
into two clear parts, an opening octet which has 8 lines and a closing sestet
which has 6 lines with a fixed rhyme scheme: ababcdcdefefgg. The octave presents
the narrative, states the proposition or raises a question. The sestet drives
home the narrative by making an abstract comment, applies the proposition, or
solves the problem. In Sonnet 18 the octave says that the beloved is better than
a summers day. It develops the idea of this sonnet. The sestet then explains why
the beloved is better than a summers day. The sestet also states that the
lover will live forever. Instead of the octave and sestet divisions, this sonnet
characteristically embodies four divisions. Three quatrains of four lines each
with a rhyme scheme of its own, and a rhymed couplet. In this case, the rhyme
scheme of the quatrains is: abab cdcd efef gg. The couplet at the end is usually
a commentary on the foregoing. Some types of poetic devices that are frequently
used in this love poem are meter, rhyme, assonance, consonance, repetition, end
& internal rhyme and alliteration. Meter is a sort of up down bouncy ball
type of sound that goes along with the line of poetry. It has accents and
unaccented syllables. Alliteration works by repeating one or more letters at the
beginning of a word throughout a line. Some examples of alliteration (shown in
italics in the sonnet above) in this sonnet is spread out in all fourteen lines.

Words like shall summers, thee to, thou temperate, art and, more more, do
darling, and all a, summers short, sometime shines, too the, hot heaven, fair
from fair, summer shall and time thou are all examples of alliteration.

Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds. Examples of assonance (shown in
bold in the sonnet above) are spread throughout sonnet 18. Words such as compare
summers, rough buds, sometime declines, in his, thou growst, breathe see and
lives his gives are all assonance. Consonance, which means that the final
consonants agree, is also used in this specific sonnet. Some consonance examples
(shown underlined in the sonnet above) are compare more, winds buds, is his,
fair fair, eternal shall, that owst, when in, men can, and lives this this
are some good examples of consonance. We also have end rhyme used in this
Shakespearean sonnet such as day may, temperate date, shines declines, dimmed
untrimmed, fade shade, owst growst, and see thee (shown in a script font
in the sonnet above). Internal rhymes are also used such as: Lines 1 and 2, thee
and lovely. We also have lines 3 and 4, do and too. Another example of an
internal rhyme is heaven and complexion and is his from lines 5 and 6.

Repetition is very common in this sonnet. In line 2 we have more and more, in
lines 4 and 5 he also shows too and too. In lines 6 and 7 and and & fair
fair. Towards the end of the sonnet, lines 10,11 and 12 show nor nor and thou
thou. The rhymed couplet has three repetitions which are so long, so long, can,
can and this, this. Although William Shakespeares Sonnet 18 is an extended
metaphor, there are other examples of figurative language throughout the poem.

In this sonnet, we have figurative language such as metaphor, conceit,
personification, antithesis, synecdoche or they just remain self explanatory
(literal). The conceit, controlling idea, of this poem is in line one when Thee
is being compared to a summers day, which is also a metaphor. Antithesis is
shown in line 14 when Shakespeare says So long lives this, and this gives
life to thee. This is the balancing of contrasting terms. An example of
synecdoche is in line 12 when lines is referred to as the whole poem.

Examples of personification are seen in lines 3, 4, 5, 6, 11 and 14. In the
third line, Shakespeare says darling buds giving human attributes to a
flower. In line 4, summer is given a life like quality to rent or to lease. The
sun in line 5 is referred to as the eye of heaven. The sun is being compared to
a face having a gold complexion in line 6. In line 11 Death is being compared to
a braggart giving Death a human quality. In the last line of this sonnet, the
poem itself is being compared to a living thing. Although all the lines just
mentioned are examples of personification, they are all metaphors as well. Lines
7 and 13 have both literal meanings. These two lines are self-explanatory and
mean what they say. The remaining lines 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 and 13 are all
metaphors because throughout those lines, the beloveds beauty is being
compared to the summer. Iambic Pentameter is essentially the meter or the basic
rhythm of Shakespeares sonnets. Love is an intangible thing, and emotion, it
can have no real definition, because it can mean so many things depending on the
situation. I enjoyed this sonnet because Shakespeare had the ability to show his
poetic skills in appropriating metaphors and conceits in clever ways, so that
the poem becomes, not just a tribute to the beloved but also a testament to his
great skill as a poet.


Categories: Poems


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