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Shall I Compare Thee To A Summers Day?

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Taruneet Chahill

on 25 March 2014

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Transcript of Shall I Compare Thee To A Summers Day?

Shall I Compare Thee To A Summers Day?
Speaker and Audience
There are multiple interpretations of this poem regarding its speaker and audience. The first possibility is that Shakespeare was writing this poem for his beloved and was trying to tell his beloved that he/she is better than a summer’s day, but only because Shakespeare is able to make his beloved eternal by writing this poem. Another interpretation for the speaker and audience is that the speaker is a young man who is writing for his love. We think that the audience for this poem is young adults, because the poem encourages the reader to take advantage of the beautiful things in life as they do not last forever and dull with time.
Literary and Poetic Devices
There were many literary/poetic devices in the poem. One being alliteration. In the poem, the line “And every fair from fair sometime declines,” the f is repeated. The second device is a simile. Shakespeare uses his first line, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” by comparing his beloved to a summer day. The third device the poet uses is personification. The line “Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,” it seems as if the poet is giving human characteristics to heaven but heaven does not have an eye. Finally, the fourth poetic device used is rhyme. Shakespeare included this device by rhyming the word at the end of the sentences referring to ‘end rhyme’. For example, “ 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.” To conclude, Sonnet 18 was one true poem and a pleasure to read.
Context of the poem
This poem was written by William Shakespeare at the age of 45. At this point in his life he was married, lost both his parents, and was the father of three children. The poem was written in 1609, during the Baroque Era. This was also the time of the Renaissance. In 1609, it had been one year since the death of Shakespeare's mother, two years after the marriage of his daughter, and one year after the birth of his granddaughter. The year of 1609 was also special, because it was the year that his sonnets were first published. Shakespeare was living in Warwickshire, England and this is where the poem was also written. There are many different reasons why Shakespeare could have written this poem. The first reason is that he could be expressing his love and appreciation for his beloved. He is doing this by portraying in the poem that if he compares his beloved to a summer's day it would not be right, because summer dies off whereas his beloved would be eternal by this poem. Another possibility is that Shakespeare is genuinely worried that he will lose his beloved, because he thinks that all things that are beautiful will not last forever. So, Shakespeare decided to write this poem to keep his beloved eternal. This is the background of this poem and can be used to understand the poem's meaning better.
I think that this poem relates to the "carpe diem" theme of the movie because throughout the poem Shakespeare explains how summer is not that great, because its beauty does not last forever. Not only summer, the poem portrays in general the idea that all beautiful things do not last forever. With this fact, you could relate the "carpe diem", because if you know that something is nothing going to last forever you would try to take advantage of it for as long as you can(seize the day). Also, this poem relates to the theme "carpe diem", because at the end of the poem he explains how he plans to "seize the day", and that is by writing the poem in which his beloved(the day) will be eternal(seized). Therefore, this poem captivates the theme of "carpe diem" very well, similar to the movie.
Carpe Diem
Significance of the poem in "Dead Poets Society"
Out of all the love poems in the world, I think the director chose the poem “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” because it truly reflected the attitude, followed the plot line and brought humor to the movie. During one of the Dead Poets’ Society meetings, Charlie brought 2 girls and impressed them by reciting a part of the Sonnet 18. Sonnet 18 has that flirtatious and extravagant feeling that would woo any woman in a moment. In the movie, Mr. Keating was the one who introduced the students to new ideas and basically tried to change their way of thinking. The poem may have been included in the movie to show a new way to flirt and show affection to a female. It opens the eyes of teenage boys that there are other ways to show love rather than texting or impressing them with ‘things’. To conclude, not only did the director open the eyes of Mr. Keating’s students but also Dead Poets’ Society movie watchers around the world.
Contemporary Poem
Dead Poets Society: Poetry Analysis
I believe that the overall theme of the poem sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare is love. This theme is shown everywhere throughout the poem. In the first line it says “Shall I compare thee to a summers day?”, the narrator is saying how he loves his beloved so much that he is going to compare it to a beautiful summer day which everyone loves. Then it goes on saying “Thou art more lovely and more temperate” which means that he is saying how his beloved is very lovely and how constant his love is for his beloved. Then through the following lines of the poem the narrator starts to talk about how the summer is very short and doesn’t last that long and also says that on some days the sun is too hot and often covered by the clouds. By saying this he is telling us the bad things about summer and negative downsides of summer. He then goes on saying how he thinks that his beloved should not be compared to a beautiful summer’s day because he believes his beloved is even more beautiful. In the final lines of the poem he explains to us how everything beautiful will sometimes lose its beauty but his beloved will stay beautiful forever by saying “But your youth shall not fade” and “Nor will you lose the beauty that you possess”. To conclude I believe that the theme of the poem is love because of the way he compares his beloved to a summer day and how he believes that she’s even more beautiful than it. Then goes on saying how his beloved’s beauty will last forever through his poem.
The contemporary poem that our group thought was the most accurately comparable to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, is the poem “When the outer beauty fades”. The poem by the infamous writer Beverly A. Kingrey, like the 18th Sonnet, is not only restraint to one meaning or interpretation; for as many people that have analyzed the poem have all had different opinions on what the writers of the poems were trying to convey through the phrases of their pieces. After our group analyzed the contemporary poem the theme that we came to is “beauty, like many other things, does not last forever; it fades away. Therefore we should appreciate beautiful things before they lose their battle against time”. In my opinion this very well relates to Shakespeares, Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day because the general meaning is the same though it is written in ways which are very different from eachother. In the sonnet the narrator portrays the beauty of his beloved by comparing his/her beauty to a beautiful summers day, however he says that not all beautiful things last and even a beautiful summers day will lose its beauty, so he makes himself more desirable by stating that he will make the beauty of his beloved eternal and long-lasting through his poem. The contemporary poem also works along those lines as well; Kingrey states through her poem the importance of beauty for people and that she is afraid of whether people will look only at her faded beauty or the wisdom, and experience she has gathered from the years she has been alive for. However, In my opinion the poems both work for and against each other; though the authors both have the same general theme to their poems the authors have different beliefs; judging from the poems William Shakespeare believes that beauty is above all and Beverly Kingrey believes that wisdom, experience, and a loving heart are key.
Poetic Devices: Contemporary Poem
Beverly Kingrey, like in sonnet 18 uses various different poetic devices in her poem to create interest and to get the reader thinking. The first device used was, alliteration; this occurs when the author includes repetition of a specific constant sound. “As I was driving home one night, I realized something new, I had not thought of it before”, in this piece of the poem there is the repetition of the “I” sound. The next device used was, an allusion. An allusion occurs when the author refers to something outside of the poem known from literature, history, religion, etc... “I had not thought of it before; was this, the forty something blues?” the author refers to the popular Blues music which had originated in the mid-1940s; which was not mentioned in the poem. The next repetitive device used was Rhyme. “I don’t feel much different now, I still have longings and desires, I just don’t have the energy, somehow”; here the author has used two rhyming words which are now and somehow. The second example of rhyme in the poem was when the author said “When youthful days have gone away, And the outer beauty fades, Does the world see only the outer shell, Or the woman you are today”; here the author used the two rhyming words away and today.
Contemporary Poem:
When The Outer Beauty Fades
As I was driving home one night
I realized something new
I had not thought of it before
Was this, the forty something blues?

I remember back when I was young
I don’t feel much different now
I still have longings and desires
I just don’t have the energy, somehow

Is this what happens as we grow old?
Does the image of self-remain?
Do we see the girl of yesteryear
When in the mirror we gaze

When youthful days have gone away
And the outer beauty fades
Does the world see only the outer shell
Or the woman you are today

I pray they see the latter one
For she has so much to give
Experience, wisdom and a loving heart
From the many years she’s lived

Works Cited

Kingrey, Beverly A. "When the Outer Beauty Fades." Authors Den. N.p., 11 Jan. 2011. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.
"Sonnet XVIII." Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Oxquarry Books Ltd, 2011. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.
"Blues." Wikipedia. N.p., 23 Mar. 2014. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.
"Sonnet 18 - Paraphase." Shakespeare Online. N.p., 1999. Web. 21 Mar. 2014. <http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/18detail.html>.
"Shall I Compare Thee To a Summers Day?" Poets.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2014. <http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15555>.
"Sonnet 18: Summary." Shmoop. N.p., 2014. Web. 21 Mar. 2014. <http://www.shmoop.com/sonnet-18/section-1-lines-1-8-summary.html>.
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