Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? Sonnet No. 18 by William Shakespeare : Questions-Aanswers

Question No. 1: “But thy eternal summer shall not fade”  – What does the  poet mean by ‘thy eternal summer shall not fade’ ?

Why does he hope so ?

How does the poet suggest that the ‘eternal summer shall never fade ?

Answer :        The poet means that his friend’s beauty is equivalent to the beauty of summer. But the beauty of summer is subjected to decay, while his friend’s beauty shall remain ever enduring through the poet’s verse.   

   The poet hopes that his verse, written in praise of his friend, shall triumph over the awful ravages of time and perpetuate his beauty. It will not fade and will forever be beautiful. His beauty will never fade because Shakespeare wrote about it.  His writings will live on forever, and as long as men can read, they will always be able to read about how beautiful he is. He will essentially live on forever through his poetry.

Question No.3 :How does Shakespeare eternalize ( immortalize) the beauty of his friend in sonnet no. 18 “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” ?

Answer :         In this  mortal world everything and everyone that is beautiful and eventually becomes less or will fade into oblivion. Thus decay is inherent in everything. Time with its destructive hands will come forward to take everything away. But eternal summer of his friend’s lasting beauty will never  fade because his verse will make him eternal. As long as the  world exists, his verse will eternalize his friend’s exceptional  beauty.       

The poet suggests that the “eternal lines” of his work will prevent his friend from being lost in the spell of Death. Although he may literally and physically die, the poem will “give life to” him for as long as people are still living to read it.

Question No.4 : How does Shakespeare glorify / idealize his friend’s beauty in sonnet no. 18 ?

Answer:             Sonnet no. 18 is the  poetic celebration to the  lasting beauty of his male friend  of exceptional physical charm and beauty. His friend’s  beauty  is  more charming than that of the summer’s day. The lovely bud of May will decline. Rough winds spoil the beautiful flowers of summer. At once the sun shines very  brightly and often it is overcast. Summer is short  lived. 

           Shakespeare asserts that the  beauty of his friend will never decline. His beauty defies time and death. His beauty is such a powerful as can resist death and decay by time. Thus the poet glorifies and idealized his friends love which  triumphs over time. His beauty  is eternal  in the world of death and transience. He is “more lovely and more temperate” than “a summer’s day”. The beauty of  his friend far exceeds the beauties of nature.

Question No 5. 

“As long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long live this, and this gives life to thee”

— What does ‘this’ refer to ? 

Who is referred to by ‘thee’ here ? 

Or, Whom does ‘this’ give life to?

How long will ‘this’ live ? 

How can ‘this’ give life to ‘thee’?

Answer :  Here in this line by ‘this‘ Shakespeare refers to the sonnet no. 18 which he claims as the‘eternal lines‘ in the twelfth line of the sonnet begins with ‘Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?”

□ ‘Thee‘ refers to poet’s friend whose beauty is immortalized in this sonnet and gives him an eternal life through the ‘eternal lines’

□ As long as the world exists, this verse will give life to his friend’s exceptional beauty. And he will essentially live on forever through his poetry. 

□ The poet suggests that the “eternal lines” of his work will prevent his friend from being lost in the spell of Death. Although he may literally and physically die, the poem will “give life to” him for as long as people are still living to read it.

Question No 6. How does Shakespeare eternalise (immortalize) his friend’s beauty in Sonnet 18 ?

OR,  How does Shakespeare eternalize ( immortalize/ glorify/idealize) the beauty of his friend in sonnet no. 18 “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” ?

Answer : In Sonnet 18, in the very first line Shakespeare has compared the beauty of his dear friend with that of the beauty of the summer’s day. The beauty of the poet’s friend is more adorable than the beauty of the summer’s day. The poet says that beauty of the summer’s day is subject to fluctuations. But the beauty of the poet’s friend is eternal and unchangeable against time.

The poet affirms that beauty of his friend is more beautiful than the changing beauty of the nature. It is beauty of the sort whose beauty cannot be entrapped by age or death.The poet immortalized the beauty of his friend in his verse. Whenever the poem will be read the beauty of his friend would be revived. And this poem will keep his friend everlasting in this world and he will be living forever through his poem.

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