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Sonnet 18Art is often viewed as man's attempts to gain immortality. What is the irony...

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l1ghtdark | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 22, 2010 at 5:40 PM via web

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Sonnet 18

Art is often viewed as man's attempts to gain immortality. What is the irony of this effort according to the theme of Shakespeare's sonnet? How does "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" reflect that irony?

 

I personally thought that there is no irony in the sonnet because Shakespeare is talking about how art DOES make someone immortal. What do you think the answer to this question is/ the irony in the poem.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 23, 2010 at 1:03 PM (Answer #2)

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Shakespeare's final line--"So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."--makes the poem itself the referent rather than the beloved.  Thus it is the poem ["this"] that will possess immortality and not directly the subject of the poem, the lover.  Ironically, then, the subject of the poem receives immortality only because of the immortality of the poem.  In the summary of Sonnet 18, thus writes enotes:

The poet creates the object that will transmit the immortality of its subject to eternity.

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staggerlee | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 25, 2010 at 2:49 PM (Answer #3)

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It's ironic that the poet is praising his subject's immortality since the poet is the one that's making it so.

 

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

Posted December 7, 2010 at 5:59 PM (Answer #4)

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It is also ironic that the point made in the last line "came true."  We are here, today, taking about Shakespeare and the poem itself, but we don't even know for sure whom the poem was written for or whom it is about, if in fact, it is a specific person in the first place.

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