Shakespeare's Sonnet Poem Analysis

Shakespeare / sonnet / poetry / youth / summer day / poem / happiness / love

Poetry Explicating a Poem Description

W. Shakespeare’s sonnet

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”


Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:

But thy eternal Summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest:


So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Out of all the existing poems this one is completely outstanding and exceptional. It is considered to be a sonnet, but what is a sonnet rather than a poem made out of 14 lines? Understanding this sonnet does not only provide the reader with unique, exquisite perception of the reality but also uncovers the classic poetry. Shakespeare’s sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” is among the most popular sonnets of the author. This sonnet is very appealing as it touches something that is dear to every single soul – youth, as the time of hopes, dreams, the time of flouting in the air and the perception that it will never end. But…a summer day is never too long: “...and summer’s lease hath all too short a date”. Shakespeare in this sonnet describes what youth is and shows the reader that it is something eternal that will never die, but will always exist. The author tries to find the comparison that can adequately depict the immortality of youth and its beauty: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”. Shakespeare makes an accent on a beautiful summer day which everybody likes – it is strongly enjoyed, but it ends up too soon. So the comparison with a summer day does not help the author: “Thou art more lovely and more temperate…”. Shakespeare draws a nice parallel with using the image of the “summer day”. Everyone gets too hot sometimes during summer day: “sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines” … but during long winter it is summer days that people recall the most.

 Shakespeare provides the reader with the notion of youth being a great gift of “nature’s changing course”. As the time goes by people get older and die, but the youth is immortal. It lives forever: “but thy eternal summer shall not fade” and “nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade”.

The abab cdcd efef gg rhyme of the sonnet provides the reading with such a poetic and lucid music that it seems that some fountain is nearby or that you can hear the laughing of the children and the blow of the wind on your face. It resembles the tension of the author – the love for the summer day and the fear that is will end, the sweet taste of laugh and sun rays and the bitter taste of the knowledge of the fact that this day will come to its end. But the end is always the beginning of something new and such circle of life gives birth to what is known as – eternity. It is this knowing that overwhelms the poem. It is the love for the given moment: …“So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see; So long lives this, and this gives life to thee”.

The sonnet contains a very strong message to the reader as it tells between the lines that the real youth is in the heart of the person and will last as long as the person lives: “so long as men can breathe, or eyes can see”. Shakespeare reveals youth as the life-giving entity, maybe because as long as one is young inside, he has the power to live and be happy in his life.

Shakespeare seems to have revealed a unique wisdom for himself and shares it with the reader. As the world around changes the author tries to “hide” the summer day into his lines so it would continue making people happy. Every time the reader reads the sonnet the summer day comes to life and youth touches the person. Yes, the summer day is never long enough, is never fresh enough but for Shakespeare it is the reflection of his youth, happiness and love. This sonnet appeals to the very soul of the reader telling that it is never the time for being desperate, because a summer day will repeat once again and “so long lives this, and this gives life to thee”.

     The sonnet is very impressive as it takes the reader to a beautiful summer day: the sun is shining brightly, its hot, the nature has covered everything with its “flower carpet” and young people are running around, playing, falling in love. It is this day that they will remember the rest of their life and associate with their youth. This sonnet is a very special message for every man of earth – to live and love each moment of this life. As long as you will be alive – your youth and love will be with you FOREVER


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