Sonnet_18_Explication.docx - Leigh Gunter Dr Little EN 103...

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Leigh GunterDr. LittleEN 1035 October 2018Sonnet 18 ExplicationIn Shakespeare’s “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”, more commonly known as Sonnet 18, the speaker ponders comparing his loved one to a summer’s day. The speaker dismisses this comparison and disses summer for the rest of the sonnet. The speaker of this sonnet is the Rival Poet, a recurring character in Shakespeare’s sonnets, and he is writing this sonnet to a male friend. Summer and the friend’s beauty and consistency are the subjects of this sonnet. The main idea, however, is that his friend’s beauty can remain forever through poetry. The special diction, sensory imagery, and figurative language in the poem reveal themes of immortal beauty through poetry, and the inability to offer comparison of human beauty to seasonal beauty.In the first quatrain, lines 1 through 4, the Rival Poet describes the calmness of his good friend in comparison to the chaos of a summer day. The level of diction throughout this poem is that of the informal variety, even though this does not seem to be true to the modern reader because the modern reader is generally unaccustomed to reading Shakespearean writings, which read more formally than plain English. The description of summer the speaker offers gives the reader negative connotations about the season. In line 3, the speaker describes the nature of the winds of summer as, “Rough winds [that] shake the darling buds of May” (Line 3). The word “rough” gives the connotation that the winds of summer are unpleasant and uncaring of the effects it has on the environment. This also gives the reader a visual of the way the winds of
Gunter 2summer effect the environment. The word “temperate” in line 2 harbors double meaning, makingthis line a pun. One definition of temperate is of a mild nature, whereas another definition is showing moderation or self-control. These two definitions reveal that the Rival Poet’s friend is much more controlled than summer, allowing him to be incomparable to the season. In line 4, thespeaker says, “…summer’s lease hath all too short a date,” which is phrase containing

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