Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day by William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day by William Shakespeare

Available Only on StudyHippo
  • Pages: 4 (2026 words)
  • Published: October 8, 2017
Text preview

The three sonnets I have chosen to use are, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? ” by William Shakespeare “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning “Since brass, nor stone, nor boundless sea” also by William Shakespeare. I have chosen these three sonnets because I think they all convey undying, untouchable love and yet they are all described in such different ways but somehow have the same effect.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? ” Shakespeare starts this sonnet with a question and all through the sonnet seems to linger on the answer instead of answering strait away. He starts the sonnet by asking himself a rhetorical question in which he compares her beauty with the most beautiful natural thing such as summer before he goes on to answer his rhetorical question as if saying why or why not.

However throughout the first two quatrains he seems to explain that she is, “more lovely and more temperate” and “And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:” carries on by writing all of the flaws that can sometimes attack a perfect summer day because summer may not always last forever or mean that the sun will shine and there will always be flowers and the world will be full of joy because it can sometimes be rough, cold, sometimes even stormy yet then again there could be a time during summer when the day is really hot and stifling however she is better

...

than summer because she has no flaws as she is perfect.

In the third quatrain comes the Volta and everything is turned around and it seems like he’s attacking what he had said in the first two quatrains. “But thy eternal summer shall not fade” Here he brings back the beauty of summer but is still talking about her own beauty. In this quatrain he says that like summer her beauty can defy death and time as summer keeps coming back and her beauty is always there.

To him her beauty will always be eternal. In the final couplet the question of how her beauty will always be eternal is answered and the sonnet finally makes sense. So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, so long lives this, and gives life to thee. ” This means as long as people are still reading this sonnet then her beauty would live on through the ink of his pen and the words in this sonnet. These last two lines change the total focus of this sonnet because now the sonnet is somehow deciphered and is appreciated. This sonnet has a gentle and caring tone about it, it then becomes delicate as Shakespeare bares all in its lines. “How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways” Elizabeth Barrett Browning also starts her sonnet with a question, which she starts to answer right away with all the ways she can express her love and how she can still love. There are multiple ways in which she answers her question but most of them start with, “I love thee” repetition is

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay
View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

used a lot throughout the sonnet and shows that there are no other ways to explain how she loves thee. The first quatrain is dedicated to which the spiritual ways she loves him are used. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight” This is the first way she loves him and she explains with so much details that you can probably understand that she’s completely devoted to the person she’s declaring her love to.

It also shows that she’s going past human boundaries by describing how far her soul can reach with all the love she harbours for him. In the second quatrain browning uses not only time but also faith and peace, “I love thee to the level of everyday’s most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. This part seems to tell us she loves him as much as people need daytime and the night. It also to me conveys how day and night will always be there and always have been there and she is explaining that her love is as constant as daytime and night. “I love thee with a passion put to use” If she’d used this line at the beginning of the sonnet then the sonnet would seem to make more sense and then there would be no need for the sonnet. When she uses the word passion everything else becomes irrelevant and the sonnet has clarity.

During this sonnet she is explaining how her love pours out of everything she does, everything she says and everything she believes in. In the final couplet she explains that if she’s lucky when she’s granted death that if God gave her an afterlife then she’ll love him even more because of the gift of afterlife “if God chose, I shall but love thee better after death” and everything is more appreciated when its gone. This sonnet has a tone of devotion and the desperation of expression.

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea” Shakespeare starts the sonnet by using natural physical elements and then saying these are all defeated by mortality and mortality overrules their power. In all three quatrains a question occurs and all questions are answered before the sonnet meets its end. “How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, whose action is no stronger than a flower? ” This question is referring to beauty, love and mortality. Shakespeare is asking if beauty and love can defeat mortality, if love and beauty can still stand out during such a rage and goes on to answer this question through the sonnet.

The second quatrain talks about time and strength, it gives few examples of strong elements but then goes on to say that all these elements can be defeated by time and no matter how strong, they can’t last forever. The third quatrains first line starts with a juxtaposition before going on to sorrow, “O fearful meditation, where alack,” the juxtaposition is of the fearful meditation, its showing us the opposite meaning of meditation as meditation is supposed to be peaceful and not meant to

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay