Literary Analysis Of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

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Created by Giacomo da Lentini, the sonnet is a poetic form originating in Italy and consisting of fourteen lines, and following a strict rhyming pattern. Additionally, a sonnet includes two parts: first the octave which asks a question or alludes to a problem, and then the sestet which provides a resolution to same (“Sonnet,” Wikipedia). William Shakespeare is one of the most widely known sonnet writers. Contemporaries of Shakespeare include: Sir Philip Sidney who penned sequences “Astrophel and Stella;” Edmund Spenser who wrote “The Faerie Queene;” and Michael Drayton who gave us “The Parting” (“Sonnet,” Wikipedia).
“Sonnet 18,” according to Wikipedia, is one the most widely known of the 154 sonnets written by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare
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Summer, says Shakespeare is often given to extremes and also short-lived. His beloved, on the other hand, has beauty that will never fade, as time has no power over him/her; not even death can claim his/her beauty (Shakespeare). The credit, for same, however, seems to lie not with the beloved but with the poet himself. For the beloved’s beauty will live on only through the poem, which will also have eternal life. This fact is expressed in the ending couplet: “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. In light of the last two lines, this poem is a tribute not only to the beloved, but to the poet as well. The beloved may have inspired the poet, but the poet seems to have place himself on a somewhat higher perch in that he takes credit for giving eternal life to his beloved.
In “Trimming Sonnet 18” Robert Jungman’s focus is centered on the meaning of the word “untrimmed” and by extension, the meaning same gives to the poem itself. Additionally, Jungman asserts that the argumentative nature first eight lines of the poem and subsequent reversal of the poet’s assertions in the following six lines indicates that this poem is a Petrarchan sonnet. The key moment of said reversal, according to Jungman, is found in the last
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The rest of the poem-which is all one sentence-then explores this central problem, and, in doing so, creates a poem through the very action of questioning the limits of poetry” (Woolway). According to Woolway Shakespeare’s main point is to make clear that the usual ways one would utilize to describe their loved one is completely inadequate; that is, as perfect as a summer day may seem it does not hold a candle to the beloved. Thus, the poem falls short of truly describing his loved one. Contrary to Jungman, Woolway places the volta not at the last word of lines 7 and 8; but at the first word “But,” of line nine (Woolway). According to Woolway, “It is here that Shakespeare introduces the point that develops the argument of the first eight lines and moves it forward toward the philosophical statement of the concluding couplet” (Woolway). While Jungman, to me, seemed to feel the poem’s focus was relating the eternal nature of the poet’s beloved’s beauty and his love for same to the larger picture of nature’s eternally changing, and therefore unchanging beauty; Woolway felt the poem’s central idea was to express how inadequate poetry was in describing the depths of the poet’s emotions relative to his

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