Poem Shall I Compare Three To A Summer Day By Shakespeare Essay


Shakespeare Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day

The explication of Shakespeare's sonnet, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" has been done ad nauseum. A quick web search will pull up a million websites dedicated to Shakespearean sonnets, and each of these domains will have its own, slightly different interpretation and analysis of the oft-cited and much praised Sonnet 18. But the reality is the poem says what it says and while some will debate the finer points of the poem (the language, the historical relevance, the imagery, the themes, the dangling modifiers, etc.), the overall meaning is straightforward and easy to apprehend, especially when compared to some of the more unintelligible Shakespearean sonnets (number 108 comes to mind). So, what is the overall meaning of the poem? Allow me to answer that question by doing another, painstakingly banal, explication of "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day.

The first line of the sonnet is a question to both the reader and the muse of the poem. One can suggest that there's a seductive quality to it as it offers intrigue and suspense about the prospect of an exciting metaphorical compliment. "Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?" Shall I compare you (the subject...


"Rough winds do shake the darling buds," meaning winds have a ravaging effect on the beautiful flowers of late spring/early summer. Line four - "And summer's lease hath too short a date" - points out that summer is too short. Line five -- "Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines" -- summer is too hot under the rays of the sun. Line six -- "And often in his gold complexion dimm'd" -- summer's gold complexion, again referring to the sun, is dimmed by clouds (presumably). So, in summation, summer is too rough on flowers, too short, too hot, and often marred by clouds. Summer is not without its faults, it's not perfect.
Line Seven kind of recapitulates this idea, that summer has its faults, that it is fallible. But speaking more generally -"And every fair…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Mabillard, Amanda. An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18. Shakespeare Online. 2000.

(11/11/2011) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/18detail.html >.

Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. NY: Riverhead Books, 1998.

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