Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sonnet 18 begins with asking the lady if he shall compare her to a summer's day--sunny, bright, carefree, full of all that is an extension of spring--but then tells her why she is nothing like a summer's day. She is better--"more lovely and more temperate". She is not rough like the winds that shake the flowering buds of May, nor is she as short tempered as the summer season. She is even-tempered and lovely for a much longer period of time...possibly forever in his heart and mind. She will not even succumb to Death since he has written about her in this poem. She will indeed last--as will his love and admiration for her--as long as the lines of the poem do.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This fourteen-line poem begins with a straightforward question in the first person, addressed to the object of the poet’s attention: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” After a direct answer, “Thou art more lovely and more temperate,” the next seven lines of the poem develop the comparison with a series of objections to a summer day. For one example, he thinks that Summer and the May winds shake the buds. In lines 7 and 8, the poet summarizes his objections to the summer day by asserting that everything that is fair will be “untrimmed,” either by chance or by a natural process. The most obvious meaning here is that everything that summer produces will become less beautiful over time. The last six lines indicate that the person about whom Shakespeare is writing, will never be forgotten or fade, because she will be immortalized in the Sonnet.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial