Analyzing Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 With The Seasons

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

As the sonnet opens, it’s quickly a question that is addressed to the beloved. The comparison of a summer’s day addresses the answer in the next eleven lines of the sonnet.

By the 2nd line, the speaker has stipulated the differences between the young man, and the summer’s day. Quickly it’s addressed that the young man is more lovely and even more temperate than the summer day. This shows the extremes of the weather and differentiates the differences in the young man through the rough winds of life.

Regardless of the season, the young man is going through something and the author works to show the variances. Just as summer is fleeting, so are seasons in the young man’s life.

It leads on to withering autumn. It’s too hot, it too dim, it’s too cold, it’s too warm, it’s too windy and so on all describe various seasons in the young man’s life.

In the final refrains of the sonnet, it’s clearly pointed out that the beloved is different in that their beauty will last for eternity vs the seasonal beauty that is short-lived (for the season) and must move on to another season.

It goes on to state that the eternal summer shall never fade it shall never die. That in the couplet, the beauty will always be. It won’t fade or disappear.

It won’t perish as the poem has preserved it for all eternity. It’s going to last forever. As long as men breathe, as long as eyes can see, as long as ears can hear and as long as eternity exists, it will be.

As the beloved explains, everything in life has its own personal season, just as we do. The author is careful to weave it in such a fashion as to allow each line to stand alone, this isn’t always the case with a sonnet.

In the sonnet, everything is defined from time to seasons, to age. The ending of the sonnet shows that everything has its own season and there is beauty in all seasons of life. The author shows how they can defy time and eternity by simply accepting what the season is as it is.

Clearly, the author shows thought and intent with this sonnet as they go through the story in comparing it to seasons and life. Not nearly as famous as Romeo and Juliet, it still has its place in history to transfer death deeds in estate planning.