Short Essay on Shakespeare`s "Sonnet 18"

Essay, 2008

3 Pages, Grade: 2,0


William Shakespeare is a famous poet of the 16th century. He was born in 1564 in Stratfort on Avon and became famous as a playwrite in London at the famous Globe Theater. Shakespeare wrote his sonnets probably over a period of several years satarting in 1594. They were first published as a collection of 154 poems in 1609.

With only a few exceptions all sonnets are structured the same. They have three four-line stanzas and a final couplet. The sonnets are composed in an iambic pentametre, which Shakespeare also used in his famous plays. The rhyme scheme that is used in Shakespeare’s sonnets is abab cdcd efef gg. It includes three quatrains with alternate rhyme and one rhyming couplet. It would also be possible to say that it consists of three heroic stanzas and one heroic couplet. This form is also known as Shakespearean sonnet.

There are three main characters in the sonnets, which are usually named Fair Youth, the Rival Poet, and the Dark Lady.

The main content is that the narrator admires the Fair Youth's beauty, which refers to a young man. But then the narrator has an affair with the Dark Lady. Whether the poems and their characters are fiction or autobiographical is unknown until today, but there were several controversies about a possible homosexual relationship Shakespeare’s.

In his sonnet “18” William Shakespeare illustrates the beauty of the young man, who will be remembered forever because of this poem.

The sonnet is structured after the typical form of a Shakespearean sonnet, which includes three heroic stanzas and one heroic couplet, as described above.

Shakespeare starts his poem with the rhetorical question “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” The narrator asks himself if he can characterizes the young man with the attributes of a summer’s day, such as warmth and light. But then he realizes that he has to extend his characterisation. The second line, “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”, shows that the narrator tries the adapt his former inadequate comparison. With the repetition of the word “more” is emphasized, that the young man is more perfect than a summer’s day, because he is more reliant and restrained.


Excerpt out of 3 pages


Short Essay on Shakespeare`s "Sonnet 18"
College  (Institut für Anglistik/ Amerikanistik)
Introduction to Literary Studies
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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395 KB
Shakespeare, Sonnet
Quote paper
Katharina Ochsenfahrt (Author), 2008, Short Essay on Shakespeare`s "Sonnet 18", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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