Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 is one of the most famous poems ever written by him. Although known for its simplicity, it does not explicitly addresses any specific gender. On the other hand, James Boyd-White, gives the gender of “female” to the loved one. However, he eschews the idea that this poem belongs to the romantic genre rather he believes it to be a poetic activity related to “self-glorification”. (Lewis)
The poem of Shakespeare is centered on three broad themes. Firstly, he compares his beloved person with the likes of a warm weather. Secondly, he points out the weaknesses in to major elements of summer season: the sun and the harsh weather of a summer season. Third, he compares the immorality of his friend`s beauty with the morality of an ordinary one. (Cross)
In my view, the author sarcastically compares the beauty of his friend to the summer. This is because, going forward, he knew that the extremities of summer weather could not withhold the warm and soothing beauty of his beloved friend. This point can also be vindicated by the fact that the author begins the sonnet with a question marked couplet. Further, the way he described the contradiction between the two worlds of beauty, a subtle bias towards unparalleled beauty of his beloved one cannot be discounted.
It is understandable that the extremities of any season, whether summer or winter, cannot be compared to something the gives calm, pleasing and soothing experience to a person who look at it. The harshness of summer is inimical to the health of an ordinary human being. If anyone wants to compare it with the type of face or to the degree of its attractiveness, then beautiful face is certainly not an answer. By allowing the contrast between the extremities of a weather and the beauty of his beloved one. The author invariably reveals the calm and temperate composure of his beloved one.
Moreover, according to the author, the glow of the sun, which shines brightly over the sky and illuminates every object of the earth, cannot be compare to the perennial radiating shine emanating from the beauty of his beloved. This is because the sun`s glow can be curbed by the presence of clouds but the beaming beauty of his loved one cannot be stopped. This also points to the consistency and unfettering attractiveness of the author`s friend.
Here the author, reflects upon the question of procreation. The very question of procreation stems from the desire of a person to preserve the beauty of his loved one. Through procreation, his beloved one can transfer his genes that are ingrained with his DNA to his posterity. However, the author shun this idea as the only way to conserve a person`s attractiveness for eternity.
In that regard, it seems that the author is having unfaltering conviction on the power of his words. That is why he bolster his credentials by referring to the fact that his words are alone enough to conserve, preserve and protect the legacy of his beloved one`s beauty. (Blake Jason Boulerice. Kissel)
Although the poem went through many different interpretation, the fact remains that it is one of the classical literary piece ever written by a man of towering stature in his areas of expertise, known as William Shakespeare.
Blake Jason Boulerice. Kissel, Adam ed. GradeSaver. 19 October 2005. 19 March 2018.
Cross, William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. Oxford: Metro Books, n.d.
Lewis, Michael Freeman and Andrew D. E. Law and Literature. London: Oxford University Press, 1999.