This year, we are marking the 450th birthday of Shakespeare. In this occasion, we were assigned one poem and one play, Sonnet 18 and Hamlet. Since I already had some knowledge about Hamlet, this was a good opportunity to read and work with another poem written by 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 dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st 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.
Analyzing this sonnet might seem to some a bit unnecessary. Shakespeare writes for the most straightforward in language, consequently making it easy to understand the context. This sonnet is, therefore, not surprisingly about love and stability. A cliché? No, actually not. At his time (1609), this way of writing was not yet a cliché. In fact, one can say that Shakespeare was amongst the first of using the techniques later associated with clichés. For instance, the comparison between his beloved one and the summer was more inventive than people might grasp.
There are a lot of things which should be said about Shakespeare, so if you are interested in learning more about him, you can check out some of these links
Are you doing something special to celebrate Shakespeare’s anniversary?