Discuss the appropriateness of the title of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18.

While composing, Shakespeare has not titled any of his sonnets. They were arranged in numerical order. But while reading, the first line of each of his sonnet is considered as the title of that particular sonnet. The Sonnet No. 18 starts with a rhetorical interrogation. It states in a roundabout way that the comparison made by the poet is not justified. The poet feels that he should not compare his friend’s beauty to the summer season because his friend’s beauty is more impressive and restrained than that of summer. All the fair elements in the world are subjected to decay. Death is inevitable and it diminishes beauty and life. But art defeats both life and death and his friend is immortalized through the poet’s verse. Thus this love-sonnet becomes a winner over time. The first line introduces the ‘time love’ theme, which evolves through the entire poem and makes the title appropriate.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”-Who makes the comparison? Who is compared to a summer’s day’? What are the blemishes of summer?

In Sonnet 18, Shakespeare makes the comparison

The poet’s friend is compared to ‘a summer’s day’.

Summer is less lovely and less temperature in comparison to the beauty of the poet’s friend. The summer sun is sometimes too harsh and at other times it is not even visible as it hides behind clouds. The beauty of summer either due to misfortune or by nature’s schemed pattern will lose its vitality gradually like all other beautiful things. Both the season of summer and a summer day comes to an end whereas the poet’s friend’s beauty cannot be claimed by death. As long as there are people on earth, so long will this poem continue to live and through it, the poet’s friend’s beauty will become immortal.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”-Whom does the poet compare his friend to? What are the qualities that make the person superior to summer?

“Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed;” What is the figure of speech used in ‘eye of heaven’? What makes the dim? What does the poet imply in the above lines?

“And every fair from fair sometime declines”-From which poem is the line quoted? Who is the poet? Briefly explain the meaning of the quoted line. How does the poet promise to immortalize his friend’s beauty?

“By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed.”-What makes Shakespeare mention ‘nature’s changing course’? Discuss.

“But thy eternal summer shall not fade / Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;” Whose ‘eternal summer’ is being referred to here? What does ‘eternal summer’ mean? What conclusion does the poet draw at the end of the poem?

“Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade, / When in eternal lines to time thou grow’ st,”—Who is the poet? Who is the ‘thou’ here? What shall death not be able to brag about and why?

“So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, / So long lives this, and this gives life to three.”-From where have the lines been taken? How does the speaker immortalise his friend?

“… and this gives life to thee.”-What does this’ refer to? Who is referred to by ‘thee’? How does this’ give life?

What does the poet say about summer in the sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” How is the poet’s young friend different from a summer’s day?

Discuss why Shakespeare has called his friend more temperate than the summer season.

What do the rough winds do? What do you understand by the phrase ‘summer’s lease’? Mention the deficiencies of the summer season.

What type of poem is ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Who is the poet? Whom does the poet speak of? What does the poet say about the person spoken of?

What does summer stand for in Sonnet 18? What prompts the poet to remark ‘And every fair from fair sometime declines’?

In the opening stanza, how does the poet celebrate the superiority of the youth’s beauty through similes?

Explain how Shakespeare has logically concluded that death shall not be able to conquer the beauty of the youth.

How does Shakespeare compare the beauty of his friend to that of a summer’s day in Sonnet 18?

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