Shakespeare starts off by admiring his friend without sounding so over the top. He slowly establishes the image of his loved one into that ideal picture. His friend is first compared to summer. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" (Shakespeare 1) He is referring himself to summer. The Shakespeare's thought towards this beauty is that he is beautiful and mankind also. It brings such happiness to see as though he is comparing his to a summer's day. He makes you believe that you feel the same way. achieves this through his verse, believing that, as history writes itself, his friend will become one with time. The line reaffirms the poet's hope that as long as there is breath in mankind, his poetry too will live on, and ensure the immortality of his muse.
The kind of love that Shakespeare is referring to is not what we think. As you begin to read this poem you believe that he is speaking about another person as you proceed in reading it more and more you start to unveil the reality of not whom he speaks such kind words about but to what he is articulating his love to. "And often is his gold complexion dimmed" (Shakespeare 6) the love poem as it would seem is not dedicating its love to a person but to humanity. This sonnet is bases on Shakespeare's adoration for one's own love. On the contrary to what the poem may lead you to believe he honors humankind not the dear friend you think he is addressing.
Sonnet 18 is one of the many sonnets that Shakespeare wrote about a profound man, that man being mankind. In sonnet 18 Shakespeare uses portrayals of scenery, power and representations of a young man in his prime. Shakespeare then compares him to things in the environment as a sort of compare and contrast because humans-kind is manmade but nature isn't and even though humanity is uncommon to nature in aspects of beauty we are alike. He uses his poem as a way to showcase adolescence as a way that it's everywhere. Shakespeare sees the young man as more than a human, he depicts him as superhuman.
In the beginning Shakespeare compares the young man and nature by linking the young man to a summer's day. The image suggests enlightenment, vividness, luminous, the gift of life, and all the other wonderful identifying the sunlight. Shakespeare feels the same way about the young man, he admires him wants to feel, think, and be like him. He is idealized by Shakespeare in this description. By stating the first stanza as a question he makes his second point. He retaliates by saying "Thou art more lovely and more temperate." (Shakespeare 2) Although by saying "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" he is stating that the man is perfect he reiterates by saying the second line. In saying "Thou art more lovely and more temperate" he brings his praise to a higher level of love in which he means he is better than a summer's day. Shakespeare feels as though youth and a summer's day cannot be the same because his love for the "young man" is greater. A summer's day can be beautiful yet at the same time unpredictable and them young man is no so at all. He is safely more reliant than a summer's day. The admiration is far beyond that of what he feels for a summer's day it isn't praise or flattery but a profound love.
Within the sequential lines he puts forward detail as to why the relationship to a summer's day is not up to par. Shakespeare reveals the many flaws of the summer's day. "Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May" (Shakespeare 3) he describes the torture of the winds to the beautiful flowers. May is a time in the year when the weather starts to warm up and flowers are in full bloom in the beginning of summer. Yet again he employs on of natures creations to compare the summers day to the young man. Not only can the wind signify the imperfection on the man but of setbacks and barriers in life. Although the summer has flaws Shakespeare believes that youth doesn't. It may seem ironic to one's self to say that out of all things in the world a person cannot be imperfect but we are. Shakespeare is blinded but love and fascination, like they say "love is in the eye of the beholder".
Despite the fact that summer is a beautiful time of the year, it's a time when all the flowers are in bloom, the sunshine's like never before, and the world is full of life it doesn't last all year around. The beauty doesn't last for long, it's only temporary. "And summer's lease hath all too short a date" (Shakespeare 4). This line entails that unlike summer where its temporary the beauty and greatness of the young man will last forever. Another attribute that the poem brings to light is the essence of time. On the contrary to summer where it's dated and timed to a certain period of the year Shakespeare describes the love and beauty of the young man as everlasting. It will never fade.
"Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines" (Shakespeare 5) Shakespeare feels as though the sun shines too bright at times or gives off too much heat and other times it is nowhere to be found. He sets up the poem to voice how although the weather and the sun are never perfect or showing its beauty at all time youth's beauty does. The sun is an immense great thing to be compared to because it does provide such amazing things. Shakespeare finds such a profound way in relating youth to the sun as though they are one of a kind. With the comparison he makes youth sound godly.
"And every fair from fair sometimes declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimmed:" (Shakespeare 7-8) By saying that every fair from fair declines, Shakespeare is stating that the world is a full circle, your born, you live, and you die at some instant in time. As you age in appearance and feeling you are further away from what you once were. What you appeared to be long ago just isn't as great as what you are now. Each and every pleasant thing in the world will at one time or another descends from its beauty, a flower will die and the sun won't always shine. Although all those things are true Shakespeare believes that a younger man will never get to that point and youth will always succeed to be astonishing and perfect which is why he compares him to something god-like.
The next line shows that beauty doesn't stand a chance because of the timeline it awaits. This again ties in to the idea that a summer's day is unpredictable and will change with time. Yet again Shakespeare's love Denys that it will be the same fate for youth. Youth is perfect beyond measure and will never change.
Towards the end Shakespeare completes his sequence of events that explaining how summer is nothing comparison to the youth. Continuing he promises youth that it will never be like a summers day but better. "But thy eternal summer shall not fade" (Shakespeare 9) The eternal summer represents the eternity of the youth's perfection. The eternal summer won't ever fade and it will never lose its original beauty. Shakespeare finally declares that the reason that the youth will always be the same is because death has no influence over him. "Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade..." (Shakespeare 11). Contrary to death where it will take everything in sight one way or another youth will never be subject to its defeat. The reason for its lack of success in because youth is everlasting and will always exists in the words that he speaks, believes and feels.
"So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this give life to thee." (Shakespeare13-14) The end of Shakespeare's poem is a promise to the youth explains that as long as man walks the earth, the verse will always exist. Youth will never die because his word will carry on throughout time and will be spoken and felt through those that see the beauty in the youth.
In his words he of Shakespeare he had been able to prove that youth is view as a form of god and though his love he is keeping the vibe of good feeling within us. His writing is motivated by the love that is within us... He explains the youth's perfection by comparing and contrasting the youth to a summer's day. He explains that a summer's day is and never will be good enough to be a summer's day. He articulates so well that he makes you believe that you can feel the love too. He says how beautiful man and youth are and as long as we speak those words youth with always stay beautiful and live among us. Comparing thee to a summer's day is without a doubt words spoken with great love. With his word he speaks with great emotion and honesty. Shakespeare idealizes the image of man and its beauty. He tribunes all they have done and inspire the world though his own inspiration that is here on this earth.
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Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974.