Give the substance of Sonnet 18 by Shakespeare.

The sonnet begins with the rhetorical question where the poet ponders if he can compare the beauty of the youth with a summer’s day or not. The poet identifies the youth with the beautiful manifestation of nature, yet he feels his friend is more lovely and temperate than a summer’s day. The summer’s beauty is inconsistent as the sun is too hot or sometimes dimmed by clouds. Often the rough wind shakes the soft blossoms vigorously. Thus its beauty is temporal and also imperfect. The poet pays a warm tribute to the eternal appeal of his friend’s beauty. His beauty is sure to withstand the ravages of time. It is not subjected to decay and will live on in the poet’s enduring poetry. The verse of the poem will bestow immortality on the beauty of the friend. As long as men continue to live, they will remember the beauty of the poet’s friend through his lines.

Discuss the central idea of the poem, ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?.

The poem “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” testifies to Shakespeare’s high idealism of love and his glorification of its triumph even over time. The poet pays a cordial tribute to the eternal appeal of his friend’s beauty through his verse. Shakespeare thinks his friend’s beauty will surely resist the ravages of time where even the fairest elements of nature lose its beauty in the course of time. This inevitable destruction caused by time is experienced by every element. It is only his friend’s beauty that is not a victim to the devastating power of time. The sonnet would mark the victory of his love over time and make his friend’s beauty immortal. The concluding couplet announces that transience of time would not be able to devour his friend’s beauty as Shakespeare’s love for his friend would beat the cycle of time and eternalise the friend’s beauty through these written lines.

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

“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?

“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?

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