Sonnet 18 Analysis

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“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” a sonnet written by William Shakespeare is one of the most well known sonnets in the world. It is a rhyming fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter means that there is a particular rhythm in a line or in a verse. It is broken up into small groups of syllables called “feet.” Iamb means that there is an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable. The root word “pent-“ has to do with the number five. So iambic pentameter consists of five groups of two syllables with the accent on the second syllable. The lines of this poem rhyme according to the scheme of the English sonnet in the form of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” by William Shakespeare compares the beauty of his beloved to time that we cannot catch. At first, the poem sounds like a speaker tells to his beloved that how beautiful she is. However, he also focuses on the eternal beauty of youth of humans and compares it to the finite beauty of summer. In the first line Shakespeare questions, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” From this statement one can assume that he praises the beauty of someone compared to a summer’s day. The second line says, “Thou art more lovely and more temperate.” The interpretation of the second line is that this person is lovelier and milder than a summer’s day. The author in this instance uses repetition of the consonant sound ‘m’ a technique called the alliteration. Alliteration means the repetition of initial stressed consonant sounds in a series of words within a phrase or a line of a verse to give it a certain feeling. If the second line is read aloud, it sounds soft and mellow. It is because of the consonant sounds of m, l, and r. Line three, the speaker discusses the erratic characteristics and shortness of summer. “Rough winds” can be interpreted as sudden changes and negative aspects of summer. “Darling buds of May” can be interpreted as the...
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