Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

By William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Summary of Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

  • Popularity of “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” by William Shakespeare, a renowned English master, is a superb literary piece. It first appeared in 1609 in The Passionate Pilgrim. The poem discusses natural beauty and the capacity of poetry to render that beauty into everlasting beauty. It also reflects the writer’s attachment to the beautiful art of writing. Its popularity, however, rests on how it deals with the phenomenon of man versus nature.
  • “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” As a Representative of Beauty: The poem revolves around the subject of love. It begins as the speaker praises his anonymous friend without ostentation, intending to present the image of a perfect being. First, he compares his friend with the summer season, keeping all of its attributes intact. Soon, he realizes that everything on the earth suffers a decline, and he wants his friend to live forever. Therefore, he tries to preserve the beauty of his friend in his precious verses. These eternal verses will pass the gentle image of his friend to the coming generations. As long as the people populate the earth, this poem will rejuvenate them with the heart-warming beauty of the writer’s friend.
  • Major Themes in “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”: The stability of love, immortal beauty, and man versus nature are the poem’s central themes. Throughout the sonnet, the speaker compares the person to whom the poem is addressed with the inevitable, specific aspect of a summer day. The poem explores the phenomenon of beauty and the speaker’s sincere efforts to preserve this eternal joy in the form of a poetic piece. He makes efforts to ensure his friend will live in human memory forever, saved from the oblivion that accompanies death. He is going to achieve this through his verses, believing in this way, his friend will become one with time.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

literary devices are modes that represent the writer’s unique ideas. Shakespeare too has used some literary devices whose analysis is as follows.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /o/ in “Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st” and the sound of /e/ in “Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines.”
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the initials of two successive words such as the sound of /l/ in “So long lives this” and /t/ sound in “to Time thou grow’st.”
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /r/ in “Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade” and the sound of /s/ in “So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
  4. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. Shakespeare has used imagery in this poem such as, “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May” and “But thy eternal summer shall not fade.”
  5. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. Shakespeare has used this device in the third line where it is stated as; “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.”
  6. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different in nature. Shakespeare has used metaphors in this poem such as “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” though it is somewhat interrogative.
  7. Rhetorical Question: Rhetorical question is a question that is not asked to receive an answer; it is just posed to make the point clear. Shakespeare has posed rhetorical questions in the first line of the poem to put emphasis on his point such as, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Couplet: There are two constructive lines of verse in a couplet, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme. This sonnet ends with a couplet, which usually reveals the central idea of the poem.
  1. End Rhyme: End Rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. Shakespeare has used end rhyme in this poem such as; “see/thee”, “day/May”, “Temperate/date” and “shade/fade.”
  2. Iambic Pentameter: It is a type of meter having five iambs per line the poem follows iambic pentameter such as; “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
  3. Sonnet: A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem usually written in iambic pentameter. This Shakespearean sonnet has its octave and sestet.

Quotes to be Used

These lines are useful for a speech delivered on the topic of “Wonders of Nature.”

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”