Sonnet 18's eternal beauty

Essay by niki113090 September 2007

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"Sonnet 18" is a metaphorical poem by William Shakespeare that focuses on the extreme beauty of a young lady. The poem's theme is to prevent beauty from decaying over a period of time through writing. Like all sonnets, "Sonnet 18" picks a specific thing to talk about throughout its standard fourteen lines and uses details and support to draw the reader's attention to it. In particular, this sonnet chooses to talk about the subject of love. Specifically the speaker talks about the beauty of the one he loves. Love emphasizes the theme of beauty throughout the poem.

"Sonnet 18" focuses on the immense beauty of a woman, which surpasses the beauty of summer. The speaker intends to preserve her beauty by having people read this poem. It begins with the question, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" (1,), which sets up the comparison for the rest of the poem. The poem says the woman is "more lovely and more temperate" than summer in the second line. In this phrase, temperate is another way of saying moderate. Therefore, the speaker is emphasizing the woman's beauty by saying that she is more lovely and moderate than a summer's day. Shakespeare uses 'temperate' to describe summer because it can be mild and not extravagant. The woman is not temperate because she always looks exuberant and pleasant. By using summer, a season that is generally thought to be beautiful, as a contrast to the beauty of the woman, it is clear that this woman is extraordinarily stunning in the eyes of the speaker. He goes on to say that "Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May" (3). "Rough winds" are seen as imperfections in summer, but when examining the woman, the speaker is...