Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day Questions Answers

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day Sonnet 18 Questions Answers 



Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day Summary Analysis Questions Answers



Shakespeare's Sonnet No 18 Analysis:

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day is the Sonnet No 18 out of 154 sonnet-sequnce of William Shakespeare. In this Shakespearean sonnet, Shakespeare tries to establish the immortality of his friend's beauty through his eternal lines of his verses.



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Questions Answers from the sonnet Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day Sonnet 18


1) Discuss why does Shakespeare call his friend's beauty more lovely and more temperate than a summer's day?

Ans: In his sonnet no 18, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day", the poet William Shakespeare makes a comparison between a bright charming day of summer and the youthful beauty of his friend on the point of beauty between these two dissimilar objects. The first line of the sonnet, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?", is a sort of rhetorical interrogation which implies that the beauty of his friend can not be best described even by comparing it with the beauty of a summer's day. According to the poet, the brightness and beauty of the summer's day is short lasting. Even the beautiful flowers of May can be spoilt by gush of rough winds. The bright golden complexion of the sun is often dimmed under the cloudy sky. In comparison, the charming beauty of his friend is constant and consistent. The beauty of his friend has an ever lasting impression. The changing course of time may affect a day but it can never tell upon the charm of his friend. So, Shakespeare assumes that his friend is more lovely and temperate than a summer's day. 

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2) Discuss the summary of the the sonnet, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day".

Ans: The sonnet no 18, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" is the celebration of the permanence of the beauty of the poet's friend, probably the Earl of Southampton. The poet tries to depict the beauty of his friend through the various images of summer. But the poet feels that the beauty of his friend far exceeds the beauty of summer. The poet thinks that the beauty of his friend is more lovely and more template as it will be constant and perpetual. It is not subjected to decay which is wrought by time to nature in summer. The sonnet also catches the poet's firm conviction of the eternity of his verses which will challenge even the omnipotence of time. The poet will eternalise the beauty of his friend through his verses. The poet confidently asserts that as long as men will breathe and eyes can see his verses will be read and his eternal lines of his verses will immortalise the graceful presence of his friend. 

3) "And summer's lease hath all too short a date."
  -- What is meant by 'summer's lease'? How does Shakespeare depict the transience nature of summer in the sonnet?

Ans: The word 'lease' is a legal term which refers to a temporary passage of time during which something is given or hired or rented. The word 'summer's lease' refers to the short duration of summer. The summer, after its short duration have to give way to the next season in order to accommodate the changing seasonal cycles of nature.
         Shakespeare in his sonnet, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" says that the summer season is transient in nature. Lovely natural elements in summer are allowed a limited span of time. For example, the lovely little buds that bloom in the months of May are often spoilt by the violent storm. The golden complexion of the sun in summer is often dimmed under the cloudy sky. Thus, the brightness and beauty of the summer day is short lasting as a part of nature's changing course.

4) "So long as men can breathe or eyes can see/So long lives this, and this gives life to thee" 
How does Shakespeare immortalise his friend through his verse?
Or
What does 'this' refer to here? How can 'this give life to thee'?

Ans: Here 'this' refers to the sonnet no.18, "Shall I compare Thee to a Summer's Day". But in general it implies the poetry of Shakespeare who thinks about the superiority of his poetry over the ravages of time.
         The poet is deeply concerned about the imminent loss of beauty of his friend with the passing away of time and with the natural changing course of life. Through these lines the poet tries to immortalise the beauty and youth of his friend in his verses. The poet is confident enough of the sustaining power of his poetry. The poet confidently proclaims that his poetry will survive the taste of time since people will read poetry as long as they live. Poetry is not death's slave. The poet shows his firm conviction of the eternity of his verses. So, in the eternal lines of his verses, he will capture the charming loveliness of his friend. Then it will become a thing of appreciation for ever and ever as his verses will enjoy timeless existence on the universe. 

5) "But thy eternal summer shall not fade." -- What is meant by 'thy eternal summer'? How does the poet suggest that 'thy eternal summer' shall never fade?

Ans: In the sonnet no 18, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day", the word 'thy eternal summer' means the eternal charming beauty of the poet's friend. 
       The poet in his sonnet tries to establish the permanence of his friend's beauty by comparing it with the beauty of a summer's day. He depicts that the beauty of his friend can not be best described even by comparing it with the beauty of a summer's day as the beauty of a summer's day is short lasting. But the poet is well conscious of the omnipotence power of death. He knows that death will claim the beauty of his friend. Then he becomes aware of the strength of his poetry which will survive the taste of time since people will read his poetry as long as they live. So, the poet will capture the deathless existence of his friend through his immortal verses. The eternal charming beauty of his friend shall not fade as the poet will confer on it an immortality through his beautiful verses.

6) Briefly discuss on the title of the sonnet "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day".

Ans: The present sonnet is actually untitled. It carries the number 18 in the original volume of Shakespeare's sonnet-sequnce. The poet had left all his sonnets unnamed. The poet did not bother about the title of the sonnets. But every sonnet when treated separately should have a title. Hence, the present sonnet has got a title of its own. The title of the sonnet echoes the first line of the sonnet. The title of the sonnet, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?" is a sort of rhetorical interrogation which implies that the beauty of the poet's friend can not be best described even by comparing it with the beauty of a summer's day. The sonnet is the celebration of the permanence of the beauty of his friend, possibly the Earl of Southampton. The poet seeks to compare him to a beautiful summer's day. But he finds that the beautiful summer has its shortfalls. The summer's beauty is not consistent and constant. Its beauty is often marred by the changing course of nature. Hence, the poet dares not to go for a comparison. So, he plainly admits his intention through the title and the first line of the sonnet. "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" as a title clearly brings out the poet's intention and the theme of the sonnet. So it is appropriate. 

7) "And every fair from fair sometime declines".
Briefly explain the quoted line. How does the poet promise to make his friend's beauty live forever?

Ans: The line is quoted from the poem, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?"
Here the first "fair" refers to the beautiful object or thing whereas the second "fair" means the abstract concept of beauty. Every beautiful object, however, glowing and majestic might be, simply fades out sooner or later loosing their fragrance and majestic charm. Nothing is permanent. Even the most beautiful objects of nature will be destroyed either by chance or as through normal and natural course. Nature's beauty is not always constant. 
The poet promises to immortalise his friend's beauty through the eternal lines of his sonnet. His friend's beauty will remain preserved through the artistic creation of the poet. Even death shall not brag on his friend's 'eternal beauty' as it becomes inscribed in poetry.

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Analysis of Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day (Sonnet No 18)

"Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day" is one of the sonnets in which Shakespeare eloquently praises the charming beauty of his friend and patron, perhaps the Earl of Pembroke and confidently declares to immortalise him in his poetry. 

Though the theme of the sonnet is conventional as many of the poets of his time have expressed their desires to immortalise their friends in their sonnets, what gives novelty to Shakespeare's sonnets are the intensity of passion and sincerity of feeling of the poet. In these lines one can hear the warm desires of the poet which can not be expressed unless one sincerely cherishes them. 

The ideal devotion to a friend may have a conventional touch, but the freshly passion expressed so poignantly in this sonnet seems to be absolutely true.

The poem may be taken as autobiographical and spontaneous expression but Shakespeare is also a master artist in drawing an inevitable conclusion. After describing his friend's beauty in a number of apt images, how rationally he comments:

"And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or Nature's changing course untrimmed."

But the poet will not let his friend's beauty decay. With full confidence he declares that friend's beauty shall never fade nor will death be able to brag him in his shade, because in "eternal lines" (the lines of his verse) he will immortalise his friend's beauty. With perfect faith in the undying quality of his poetry, the poet declares - 

"So long as men can breathe or eyes can see
So long lives this and this gives life to Thee."

Here we see that the poet has described the power of his poetry. 

The rhyme-scheme of the sonnet is - abab, cdcd, efef, gg which is typically rhyme-scheme of the Shakespearean sonnets. The musical quality vibrates in every line of the sonnet. The concluding couplet admirably sums up the poet’s ardent desire of the heart and leaves an ineffaceable impression on the minds of the readers.

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