Alejandro Arcos Die
Commentary – Sonnet 18
Sonnet 18, one of the best known of Shakespeare’s sonnets, is a glorification of the eternal love, of a love that lasts over time and death. Furthermore, we can appreciate this sonnets serves also as a praise of the power of poetry, which is capable of defying time and embodying a beauty which can last forever.
The opening line of the sonnet introduces an explicit comparison between the poet’s beloved and a “summer’s day”. Although the general assumption can be that the addressee of the sonnet was a woman, since this is sonnet 18 and belongs to the first part of Shakespeare’s sonnets, we know that he was actually addressing this sonnet to a man. Therefore, from the very beginning, he is comparing the beauty of that man to a “summer’s day”. The sonnet highlights the idea that the youth's beauty far surpasses summer's delights. Shakespeare cannot but conclude that his beloved was “more lovely and more temperate” than a “summer’s day”. The comparison established in the first quatrain introduces the emphasis made by Shakespeare on the fair lord's beauty. For him, the young man’s beauty is a timeless beauty that far surpasses that of the fleeting, inconstant summer season. Indeed, the third and fourth lines of the first quatrain illustrate how summer is just a season that “hath all too short a date”, that will come to an end. Hence, the opposition Shakespeare establishes between his beloved and the summer’s day implies that, although summer is ephemeral, his love and the young man’s beauty will transcend and will be eternal.
The sonnet presents summer as a season of extremes and disappointments. Indeed, there is a very powerful imagery within this sonnet presenting elements supporting the negative view of summer as a season of extremes. For instance, the poet makes reference to the "darling buds", which are shaken by the “rough winds”, thus presenting two opposite extremes and entailing the eventual change of...