SONNET NO -18
SONNET NO -18
William Shakespeare is pre-eminently a playwright. He belongs to the great Elizabethan Age. Shakespeare imbibed the spirit of the Renaissance. He poetized on the variety of life. His dramas betray the varied aspects of mind. They have withstood the test of time. The characters of his plays are all convincing. His plays are marked for the magic of their poetry. Shakespeare was a poet par excellence. Apart from his plays, we have as many as 154 sonnets. They are the sparkling gems of literature. Here we get the most intimate side of the poet.
He expresses his heartfelt grief and joy, anger and frustration through his sonnets. We become fully familiar with the man Shakespeare of flesh and blood. So sonnets are of paramount importance for us. The present sonnet no-18, of Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? deals with the beauty of his loving friend. The poet is certain that his friend’s beauty will not be spoiled by the ravages of time. Because he will be immortalized by the poet’s verses. By way of glorifying the friend, the poet here establishes the supremacy of his poetry. This is not egoism. If it is so, it well befits the poet of such superlative genius.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? is sonnet no-18 of William Shakespeare. The poet had left all his sonnets unnamed. It happened so as make one single sonnet could not stand individually. The 154 sonnets were just on the way to form a group. So the poet did not bother about the title of a sonnet. But every poem when treated separately should have a title. So is the convention. Hence the present sonnet has got a title of its own. The first line of the sonnet is chosen as its title. Now we are to judge whether it has become appropriate. The main theme of the sonnet is the matchless beauty of a young man the poet loved passionately.
The man’s superiority – the poet celebrates in the sonnet. Obviously comes the need for a comparison. And the poet seeks to compare him to summer, the loveliest of all seasons. But in a lid to glorify the young man he finds that summer has its shortfalls. It is not permanent and its beauty is often marred by the changing course of nature. The poet clarifies his theme all by comparison. ‘Summer is the key-word of the poem. Summer has become synonymous to beauty. Hence the poet says that the young man possesses ‘Eternal Summer which will not fade. So the title is apt in every sense.
The poet establishes a simile to compare his young friend to the summer’s day. He observes that summer’s beauty is not permanent. But his friend is more lovely. Calmer and a lot more moderate he is. On the other hand, the summer is very rough and hot. In summer violent winds shake the beautiful buds. Again, summer does not last long. Sometimes the summer’s sun is very hot and its golden colour is often dimmed by clouds. The poet sees that every fair object of the earth loses its beauty and charm very soon.
Nature’s changing course or chance affects all beauteous objects of the earth. The poet is happy to declare that his friend’s beauty will never be destroyed by the ravages of time. The young man will never lose possession of his physical beauty. Death can’t spoil it. For, he will be everliving through the poet’s verses. The poet has deep faith in the power of his creation. As he is confident that his friend whom he glorifies in his poetry will be immortal through it. For, the readers will ever appreciate this lovely sonnet which underlines the eternal beauty of the young man.
A CRITICAL ANALYSIS:
Sonnet no -18 has three quatrains and a final rhymed couplet. The poet here addresses a young man. The young man is his dearest friend and patron. He has charming physical beauty. The poet glorifies his beauty. In the first quatrain, the poet establishes the man’s superiority. He compares him to the summer’s day. In the second quatrain, the poet observes the changing look of nature.
In the third quatrain, the poet confers immortality on the young man through his poetry. And in the rhymed couplet the poet firmly declares that his poetry will ever live and retain the eternal beauty of his young friend. The poem deals with two themes. One is the transitoriness of life and the other is the eternity of poetry. Time devours everything but it can’t do any harm to poetry. The beauty of poetry is above the ravages of time. Anyway, the poem has superb technical brilliance.
Its artistic beauty lies in the restrained expression of emotion. It is a classic sonnet. The phrases like ‘Summer’s lease’, ‘Darling buds of May’ are very suggestive. The images like ‘nature’s’ changing course,’ eternal summer’, are evocative. The rhyme scheme is as follows: ‘abab, cdcd efef and gg’. From every point, the sonnet reaches the high water-mark of poetic excellence.
***** STRONGS ROOTS SUMMARY, CRITICAL ANALYSIS LINK :https://www.brojendasenglish.com/strong-roots-summary-analysis/