Poectic Analsis on Sonnet 18 Shakespeare

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  • Topic: Madrid Metro, Metropolitana di Napoli, Poetry
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Sonnet 18
1Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
2Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
3Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
4And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
5Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
6And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
7And every fair from fair sometime declines,
8By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
9But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
10Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,
11Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
12When in eternal lines to time thou growest,
13So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
14So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Stylistic analysis involves examining the linguistic structure of a text and show the role which the linguistic structure plays in helping a reader to arrive at an interpretation of that text. According to American professor Stanley Fish, Stylistics aims to give an objective account of how language is used in literature (p.4, Niazi, Nozar, 2010, How To Study Literature: Stylistic And Pragmatic Approaches) In this article, I conduct a stylistic analysis on a poem, ‘Sonnet 18’, which was written by Shakespeare. The analysis would be focus on the writer’s use of sound and rhythm to convey and/ or complete meaning. A general evaluation regarding to its literary value will also be discussed. Overall interpretation

The poem carries the meaning of an Italian or Petrarchan Sonnet. Petrarchan sonnets typically discussed the love and beauty of a beloved. In the sonnet, it talks about how the beloved differs from the summer; summer is fleeting; but beloved’s beauty will last forever (‘Thy eternal summer shall not fade… ’) and never die. Because it is preserved in the poem, which will last forever; it will live as ‘long as men can breathe or eyes can see’. Shakespeare uses some phonetic scheme as well as some linguistic structure to help readers to arrive at an interpretation of a Petrarchan Sonnet. Phonetic scheme- alliteration

Alliteration basically involves the repetition of the same or similar consonants. By using the alliteration can there be have a sound effect to arouse hearer to the theme. For example, Full alliteration of / tʃ/ in ‘chance’ and ‘changing’ in line 8. Another example of full alliteration is /f/ in ‘fair’ from fair’ in line 7. I believe the writer used alliteration to convey the meaning that summer is fleeting: its date is too short, and it leads to the withering of autumn. Another example of full alliteration is /l/ in ‘long lives life’ in line 14. I believe the writer used alliteration to convey the important theme that the power of the poem can defy time and last forever. Because the beauty of the beloved can carry on (‘long’ ‘lives’)to the future generation (‘life’).

Assonance is the repetition of the same vowel sounds with different consonants. According to Short (1996), assonance connects important words together and helps readers notice the meaning connection between them. For instance, full assonance are found in line 14 where the vowel sound /i/ is repeated in ‘lives’, ‘this’, ‘this’, ‘gives’. And loose assonance are found in line 14 where the vowel sound /i/ is repeated in ‘lives’, ‘this’, ‘this’, ‘gives’, adding a similar characteristics /i: / in ‘thee’ in line 14. Another example of full assonance involves the vowel sound /ai/ in ‘sometime’, eye’ and ‘shines’ in line 5, and the repetition of same vowel sound /ai/ in ‘lines’ and ‘time’ in line 12. I believe the writer wanted to convey the meaning ‘the sum sometimes shines.’ Consonance

Consonance means ‘the repetition of consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words that are close together’ (Medaille, 2007). For example, in this poem, we find consonance in ‘winds do shake the darling buds’ (Line 3) that the consonant sound /d/is put together and repeated. Another instance of consonance is the /f/ sound in...
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