Last Updated 12 Oct 2020

The Idea of Immortalized Beauty in the “Sonnet 18”

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Explication of “A Summer’s Day” Shakespeare establishes his theme by shifting procreational beauty to the idea of immortalized beauty. Shakespeare's use of personification, literal meanings, and metaphors enables him to illustrate his compassion in the idea of immortality. In Sonnet 18 Shakespeare uses personification heavily in giving objects human qualities to reflect establish mortality in his muse. Doing so, helps the reader relate to the object to life and death.The first instance of personification is in the first quatrain , Shakespeare writes, “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,” meaning “Winds choke the lovely buds with hands of May”. On the first quatrain Shakespeare writes, “And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:”(4).

In this line Shakespeare is referring to Summer being too short. By this personification on the first quatrain, Shakespeare conveys the depth of his affection towards his love interest by giving a descriptive metaphor about his beloved comparing her to something intangible as a “Summer day” or “Lovely buds” being more beautiful than nature.He creates a life in words with the personification. In the second quatrain, Shakespeare writes, “Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,”(5). He uses the reference of “Eye of heaven” to convey the idea of the sky being a face with the sun becoming the eye. On the next line Shakespeare writes, “And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;”(6). In this line Shakespeare describes how clouds often go behind clouds.

In this line Shakespeare illustrates how intense his love for his beloved yet, nature can get in the way of love such as clouds or mortality.In Sonnet 18, those whom are unfamiliar with the writing of Shakespeare may think or feel they have to decipher what they’re reading. In some instances this is true, but not for all. This is where literal meanings play an important role in understanding some important ideas. In the second quatrain, Shakespeare says, “And every fair from fair sometime declines,”(7). This is saying almost exactly what it sounds like, everything beautiful will sometime be lost. On the couplet, Shakespeare writes, “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,”(13).

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In this he is referring to his love being everlasting as if his writing is forever cemented as people continue to read and live. Shakespeare uses metaphors to create an effect that gives his writing an eloquence, while such effects are also used in his prose. First quatrain, Shakespeare writes, “Thou art more lovely and more temperate:” In this he’s saying you are more lovely and more constant, in comparison to a summer’s day. In quatrain 2, Shakespeare says, “By chance or nature’s changing course umtrimm’d”(8).Shakespeare is referring to death as a misfortune, or by nature’s planned course. In the third quatrain, Shakespeare writes, “By thy eternal summer shall not fade”(9). The idea here is your youth will not fade.

The very next line, “Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;”(10), This line is saying nor will you lose the beauty that you possess. In the last line of the third quatrain, Shakespeare writes, “When in eternal lines to time thou growest:”(12), this line is saying because in my eternal work you will live forever, thus, giving the poem immortality.Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 to challenges age and time and, thus, becomes everlasting, conveying the beauty of the fair youth down to expected generations through his words. Shakespeare attempts to compare this person to summer, yet summer could never be as magnificent or consistent. The beloved in Shakespeare’s view could never grow old or ugly and death could not even destroy this fair youth. This notion of beauty being immortalized in the poem.Whether it be written through personification, literal meanings or metaphors, Shakespeare always seemed to convey his ideas through his works.

The idea of surviving or giving someone eternal life though literary works is genius. Sonnet 18 is about someone Shakespeare loves, that is immortalized in this Sonnet. The line the concretes the idea of immortality is “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see/ So long lives this and this gives life to thee. ”(13-14)

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