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Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

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Introduction

Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet XVIII Shakespeare is now, and has been for many centuries, viewed as one of the greatest writers of all time. His works are highly renowned around the globe, for both his plays, that have been re-enacted countless times and his vast collection of poetry. Shakespeare's sonnets consist of a collection of 154 were published in 1609. It is not known whether the 1609 publication comprises all the sonnets he wrote but it is likely that it does not. Many of the sonnets are intensely personal, divulging sexual interests and indulgences while others are deeply emotional, disclosing the author's most private feelings and emotions. Sonnet 18 is an example of the latter, and is perhaps the best known and most highly acclaimed of all, despite being quite simplistic in language and intent. The theme is lucid; the stability of love and its power to immortalize poetry through its infinite beauty. The English sonnet is a form of poetry consisting of 14 lines. The rhyming scheme is very complex, yet subtle, whilst allowing a definite flexibility in rhyme. ...read more.

Middle

Shakespeare uses the weather and the characteristics of the season of summer to illustrate the purpose of the sonnet, and to enforce the emotions that are its inspiration. The poet personifies summer in order to allow the reader to relate to human characteristics: "eye of heaven" with its "gold complexion." This also allows the reader to draw contrasts between the season and the beloved. The use of comparisons and figurative language is done in order to highlight the intensity of the poet's emotions. Having established the characteristics of summer, the poet then elaborately differentiates between the beloved and the summer's day. This enables him to illustrate that although summer is beautiful in certain ways, it has a fickle nature. Unlike his beloved, who has an unchanging and everlasting beauty, and is in fact more beautiful than a perfect summer's day: "Thou art more lovely and more temperate:" The beloved has an ceaseless beauty and becomes an "eternal summer", which will never fade because it is forever embodied in the sonnet: "So long lives this, and this gives life to thee." ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the true muse who inspired so many masterpieces of literature is unknown. In order to understand the true content and meaning of the sonnets, an understanding of why they were written needs to be taken into account. I personally believe that they allowed him to admit his deepest fears and desires; this would explain why so many of them are based on themes that are so personal and in deeply meaningful. Many of his poems are based on the ideals of love and time and sonnet 18 is no exception. This sonnet was written as an answer to such profound joy and beauty, in order to ensure that his most treasured lover is forever in human memory; saved from the ultimate oblivion that is associated with death. William Shakespeare, who is widely acknowledged as the greatest writer of all time fell so deeply and passionately in love with an unknown beauty that he wrote Sonnet 18 in an attempt to keep their memory and most importantly of all their beauty, alive forever. An attempt that in my opinion has succeeded; a view that is supported by the popularity of his work today and the high esteem in which Sonnet 18 is especially held. ...read more.

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