His Lover’s Beauty: Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 Analysis
In Shakespeare’s era, poetry was his talent, a genius many would say, but his love poems were his true masterpiece. Shakespeare’s love poetry tended for more a male audience then female, due to the fact that love poetry was created and read mostly by other male poets, thus men would write love poetry about their lovers to brag or being boastful about their lover’s appearance. In sonnet 18, Shakespeare challenge death and other factors that his lover’s youthfulness will never fade.
Sonnet 18, is an English sonnet or Shakespeare sonnet, the foot is iambic, and meter is pentameter, it has 3 quatrains and 1 couplet. The rhyme scheme for the poem is ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG. The rhyme scheme was able to identify what type of sonnet it was, due to rhyming of the couplets. Shakespeare sonnet 18, battles with the issue of ‘youthfulness’, over and over Shakespeare approach this idea in each quatrain, and within each quatrain more in depth, the lyric poem becomes. In the sonnet, there was several figurative languages evident in the poem. For instance, in (line 5-6) presented the use of metaphor, “Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines, and often is his gold complexion dimmed.” In these lines, the metaphor is comparing the sun to the eye of heaven.
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This figurative language emphasizes the beauty of his lover, thus the sun will get dim from time to time, but the beauty of his lover never fade. Another major figurative language is personification. In Shakespeare’s poetry he has always personifying death by claiming that death will never claim his lover, that his lover will never die but live in his heart. I do believe also by applying personification would aid in the understanding that the life of his lover lives through the poem and claiming his lover will remain immortal in the context of this poem. The last figurative language, symbolism throughout the entire poem the word ’summer’ is being used as a symbol of youth, for instance in (line 9) “But thy eternal summer shall not fade”. Shakespeare played with the content of the words “eternal” and “summer” which is a paradox.
Since this sonnet has 3 quatrains, the turn or problem occurs at the starting of each quatrain. For instances, in sonnet 18, William Shakespeare wasn’t able to find the words, to convey his lover’s beauty, in the entire sonnet the gender of his lover was never revealed. I do believe that was the problem addressed in the quatrains. Also at first, but in the first quatrain Shakespeare establish the problem for instance, “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,” (line 3). Meaning that his lover’s beauty is not eternal, that “Rough winds” indicate his lover’s beauty is fragile it can be shaken and summertime can be over quickly. In the second quatrain the lyric sonnet got further complicated or develop the problem by, introducing outside factors to this poem to challenge his lover’s beauty for instance, (line 6-8), portray the cycle of life.
In the third quatrain it was noticeable that Shakespeare shift, the tone of the lyric poem by introducing his eternal idea of his lover’s beauty, is everlasting. The term ‘beauty’ was subjective meaning that Shakespeare theory on beauty wasn’t the social norm of his society, “blonde hair, blue eyes”, but beauty in this context was internal. In the couplets I believe the major turn occurred that gave this everlasting testimony to his lover’s beauty. For instance, “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee” (line 13-14). In the couplets, since it’s a Shakespeare sonnet, they held the answer or resolve the problem establish in the lyric poem, its baffling why write this sonnet has a sonnet? In other perceptive, the sonnet allowed him to convey his lover’s beauty better, the sonnet also gives ways to poets like Shakespeare who would want to preserve their lover’s memory.
According to the OED the term “fair” present in (line 7) “And every fair from fair sometime declines.” Represents rare, purify and beauty and the term ‘complexion’ refers to texture and embrace; knowing these term they gave a better insight, on what Shakespeare meant in this lyric poem. For instance, his lover beauty was express to be his/her own to embrace, that even death can’t taint it. Shakespeare use of these terminology also indicate that he might believe that his lover’s beauty surpasses a summer’s day. In my perceptive, Shakespeare sonnet possess duality of his lover beauty, in (line 8-10) the speaker insight changes, after analyzing these lines its evident that beauty was a concept, that Shakespeare created for his lover for his admiration of him/her.
In conclusion, Shakespeare sonnet 18, desperately struggle to compare his lover’s beauty, the setting of this lyric poem wasn’t a coincident, as presented in the essay, the word ‘summer’, represents youth. Hence, Shakespeare’s lover’s beauty was internal, therefore why the struggle of writing about his lover’s beauty. His lover might not be beautiful in others eyes but only to him.