A Close Reading Of Sonnet 18

1280 Words Feb 25th, 2016 6 Pages
A Close Reading of “Sonnet 18” “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” (“Sonnet 18”) is one of Shakespeare’s most famous poems. It is the model English, or Shakespearean sonnet: it contains three quatrains and a finishing couplet.. The poem follows the traditional English sonnet form by having the octet introduce an idea or set up the poem, and the sestet beginning with a volta, or turn in perspective. In the octet of Sonnet 18, Shakespeare poses the question “Shall I compare the to a summer’s day” and basically begins to describe all the bad qualities of summer. He says it’s too windy, too short, too hot, and too cloudy. Eventually fall is going to come and take away all the beauty because of the changes nature brings. In the sestet, however, his tone changes as he begins to talk about his beloved’s “eternal summer” (Shakespeare line 9). This is where the turn takes place in the poem. Unlike the summer, their beauty will never fade. Not even death can stop their beauty for, according to Shakespeare, as long as people can read this poem, his lover’s beauty will continue to live. Shakespeare believes that his art is more powerful than any season and that in it beauty can be permanent. In my close reading of “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”, the first feature I focused on were keywords. The first word that stood out the most “temperate.” The word temperate has multiple meanings. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word “temperate” can mean “Of persons,…

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