Critical Appreciation of William Shakespeare's Sonnets: Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare thee to a Summer's day?

William-Shakespears-sonnets-sonnet-18
William Shakespeare
Sonnet 18  is regarded as one of the masterpieces of William Shakespeare's Sonnets. It is a sonnet which has received massive appreciation from the critics with regard to its structure and feels it is a part of procreation sonnets which include sonnets from 1 to 126 procreation. Sonnets are those sonnets of Shakespeare wherein he argues that the fair youths should marry and produce children moreover the fair youth will be able to live forever through these children after his death it is a mystery to know about the fair youth nobody knows who was fair youth what was his name what was his relationship with Shakespeare. It is an enigma and will remain an enigma forever whatever may be the case this sonnet is one of the most beautiful sonnets in the history of English literature in this beautiful sonnet.
Shall I Compare thee to a Summer's day? , Shakespeare, the poet is confused as to whether he should compare the beauty of his beloved to a summers day or not he is of the opinion that his beloved is more beautiful than the summer's day.He puts forward various reasons to support his point of view he says that the duration of the summer is very short as it sees the dawn of winter very quickly that is the end of summer that's why the poet says that his beloved is more beautiful than the summer when he moves forward and says that every beautiful thing has to see the end of its life. It may occur due to natural causes or by chance whatever may be the case every beautiful thing will decline in this world thereafter he turns to his beloved and says that he will not lose his beauty and he will not decline like other things rather he will possess his beauty forever death will not be able to touch the beloved of Shakespeare as he has preserved him through his poetic magic the more the verses of Shakespeare are read the more the beauty of his beloved will grow as long as there are human beings and they live his bill we'll live in these lines the poet is asking his beloved as to whether he should compare his beauty to a summer's day or not if he were to compare his beauty then he would really come to know that his beauty is more gorgeous stunning and more constant than the summer's day. Literally, the word temperate means something which is constant and never changes during the course of time. He says that the summer season is not an everlasting thing it has to face its end as soon as the winter takes its place if you look at the very first line of the sonnet it appears that the poet is addressing his beloved we don't know whether the addressee is present at the moment or not yet the word thee suggests that he is addressing his beloved who is present before him it is pertinent to mention here that the person he is addressing is a mystery nobody knows about the identity of the beloved of the poet it is really shrouded in mystery and no one has given a satisfactory account of his beloved in these lines the poet goes forward to explain what he means by saying the first two lines he says that the beauty of his beloved is more beautiful and constant than the beauty of summer we know that the beauty of summer is totally dependent upon flowers that's why summer looks beautiful and charming. Suppose we have summer without flowers would you enjoy it of course you will never ever enjoy the summer thus in these lines darling buds which mean flowers are a symbol of beauty the gusts of rough winds shake the flowers to such an extent that they fall down on the ground making the summer lose its beauty, that is the reason the poet is of the opinion that the beauty of summer is not everlasting. It is subject to mortality while the beauty of his beloved is everlasting we know that when we hire something on a lease we have to follow the terms and conditions of the lease that is agreement for a particular period after the expiry that particular period we have to return the thing to its owner exactly in the same way the summer has signed a lease with the nature for a limited period after that specific period it will have to do while winter will replace it hence its beauty remains for a specific period as compared with beauty of the beloved of the poet which is constant and doesn't change with the passage of time you might have observed changes in the temperature during the summer season sometimes the temperature goes up while other times it falls down that's why the summer is very hot and relatively cold at different times.

The poet calls the Sun as eye of the heaven moreover when there are clouds we cannot feel the heat of the Sun in its full essence the reason is that the Rays of the Sun don't fall directly on the earth as they are hindered by clouds thus the Sun seems to be hazy and blurred that's why the poet says that the Sun appears to be dim in these lines the poet has personified the Sun by giving it human attributes complexion is used to describe the facial color of a person It is used only for human beings and not for inanimate objects in these lines the poet is of the opinion that everything which is beautiful must face its end by chance or naturally the word decline means death end and elimination actually the poet is referring to the death of beautiful things that is living things which occurs in two ways by chance or naturally when someone dies during an accident such a death would be termed as death by chance but if someone dies naturally without interference of external force then such a death is called a natural death thus the word untrimmed here means uninterrupted unchanged and spoiled in central words the poet says that every living thing which is beautiful will face its death either by chance or through nature's will. Beauty is mortal and it will have to face its death at any cost nothing will remain here. His beloved who is above all and is not subject to any external force the poet is immensely impressed with the beauty of his beloved and he is appreciating it to a great deal. He is talking about the permanence of his beauty in contrast to the beauty of summer which is ephemeral. He says that the summer of his beloved will never come to an end moreover he will not lose his beauty the words summer here means happy time that he is enjoying the beloved of the poet will enjoy good time and his beauty forever in the coming lines he explains as to why his beloved will remain beautiful forever when compared with the summer in these lines the poet is talking about immortality of beauty of his beloved. He says that nothing can take away the beauty of his beloved so much so death will not be able to drag him into the shadow of death. The poet has personified death as an assassin who kills every person who comes in his way the idea here is that death will not be able to drag the beloved of the poet into his grave as he is being immortalized through immortal verses of the poet nothing can influence the beauty of his beloved as he has been preserved into immortal Percy of the poets the last couplet of this sonnet will complete the meaning of these lines so keep on reading in this beautiful couplet. The poet wants to convey a message to his beloved that he will enjoy his life as long as there are human beings on the surface of this earth as the beloved of the poet is preserved in the eternal poetry of the poet his beloved will enjoy his life each and every time people read his poetry the more people read his poetry the more his beloved will enjoy his life you might have observed that those people who died aimlessly or without any cause and never remembered by people they become a part of the history and are buried over there in the annals of history but those who are having a particular characteristic or any other achievement they have made are remembered in the annals of history their achievements are commemorated every and every time someone reads his account for example Lady Diana is remembered for her spectacular beauty though she is dead yet she lives in the heart of people exactly in the same way the poet wants to immortalize his beloved in his poetry as long as humans will read his poetry his beloved will be appreciated and commemorated.
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