Shakespeare's Sonnets by William Shakespeare

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What are the similes and/or metaphors in Shakespeare's  Sonnets 18?

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Lenny Wiza eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The overall conceit, or extended metaphor, of the sonnet is that the speaker finds his beloved superior to a summer's day. In comparing him, he says that he is even lovelier and "more temperate." The summer days to which he compares him have "all too short a date," meaning their beauty is temporary when contrasted with his enduring beauty.

To deepen the metaphor of the "temperate" nature of his beauty, the speaker points out that the summer sun is sometimes "too hot" and sometimes does not shine at all ("his gold complexion dimm'd"), but that his, metaphoric, "eternal summer shall not fade."

As the sonnet concludes, the speaker assures his beloved that his beauty will be immortal because it will, metaphorically speaking, live forever because whenever a person reads the sonnet, he will live again. Even death will not be able to overcome his radiance and place him "in his shade."

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The speaker begins the poem by comparing his lover to a summer day, claiming that he is, ultimately, more...

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