Shakespeare's Sonnets Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Compare and contrast the themes of Sonnet 18 and Sonnet 73 by Shakespeare.

"Sonnet 18" and "Sonnet 73" by William Shakespeare are both poems written to a beloved, but they are more different than alike. "Sonnet 18" focuses on the unending beauty of his beloved, while "Sonnet 73" examines a love that sustains the speaker through his own dying process.

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These two sonnets examine love at opposite points on a life's spectrum, so they are more different than alike.

In "Sonnet 18," the speaker considers how even the most beautiful aspects of nature are flawed. Delicate buds that emerge in May are damaged by rough winds. Summer, though stunning, doesn't last long enough. However, the speaker feels that the beauty of his beloved will never end:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st

The glories of this woman's beauty transcend the powers of the earth to subdue them. Her beauties are infinite and supernatural. In this sonnet, the idea of love is closely associated with beauty.

This stands in contrast to the love represented in "Sonnet 73 ." In this poem, the primary subject is the speaker himself, not his beloved. Love is not closely associated with beauty in this sonnet; in fact, the speaker notes that he is in his life's autumn, not its summer. He addresses this poem to the love who has remained by...

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