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In the poem "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" by Shakespeare, has the poet’s...

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cheyennebell20 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 4, 2011 at 4:16 AM via web

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In the poem "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" by Shakespeare, has the poet’s bold assertion in his couplet proved true?

In what ways can other kinds of art immortalize someone? Give as many examples as you can think of.

"Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" by William Shakespeare.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 12, 2011 at 1:28 PM (Answer #1)

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It has absolutely been proved true because you and I are here, in 2011, thinking about the beloved he refers to in the poem, and about the last lines of the poem.  Yes indeed, the person who the speaker claims was more lovely than a summer's day did, in fact, die, but he or she is not completely dead because here we are recalling him or her.  Death can't "brag that thou wander'st in his shade" because that would imply that no one recalls the person.  The speaker was right to claim "so long lives this [this poem], and this [poem] give life to thee" because these are "eternal lines."

All art has the potential to do this.  A portrait of long dead person captures the essense of that person, and as long as that painting can be seen by later generations, then a piece of that person is alive -- at least their existence is proven in a way.  One of the most talked about paintings of all time is The Mona Lisa.  People are still pondering this mysterious women hundreds of years after she was captured on canvas with paint.  What is she smiling about?  Is she smiling? 

When art of any kind captures some aspect of a person's life, and that art is experienced, then the person is given a kind of life again.  It is a pretty powerful thought!

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