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English Language
William Shakespeare

What is the purpose of Shall I compare Thee?


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April 29, 2008 1:30PM

In this poem Shakespeare is comparing this woman's beauty to that of a summer's day. Shakespeare wrote over one hundred sonnets about her, each an attempt to summarize her beauty. This sonnet has four quatrains and a rhyming couplet, in an A/B rhyming scheme, the thing that makes the poem special is the attention to detail. Each line has ten syllables, this of course is not a coincidence rather a way of ensuring the poem has good flow. Shakespeare begins his poem with a question, "Shall I Compare thee to a summer's day?" This makes us want to read on, throughout this first quatrain Shakespeare sums up the factors that mar a summers day, "Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May." He tells us that her beauty will always be immortal because she is perfection itself.She is so pretty, so smart, so utterly perfect to him that "Thy eternal summer shall not fade" Shakespeare says she will always be remembered and it is true because here we are 400 years later reading about her beauty in this sonnet. Shakespeare portrays the most stunning images in his mind, the eye of heaven, the darling buds of May, but what makes her different is her immortality, the eye of heaven will fade,the darling buds of May will die, as is the natural cycle. But Shakespeare breaks the natural cycle by putting pen to paper and immortalizing this woman in this sonnet "So long as men can breathe and eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee." The stunning images Shakespeare shows us of love make this truly one of the best poems ever written.