Sonnet 18 Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Explain why the comparison of the poet’s love to a summer’s day is not appropriate in "Sonnet 18."

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Shakespeare's famous Sonnet 18, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" begins with a false comparison, and the poem goes on to indicate why the comparison of the beloved to a summer's day is inappropriate. Ultimately, the speaker is expressing that his beloved and his love for her is superior to the summer's day.

The first stanza begins the sonnet as follows:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date; (1-4)
After asking the question in line 1, the speaker immediately resolves that he should not compare the beloved to a summer's day, or at least, if he does, he will find that she is superior to it. The second line explains that she is "more lovely and more temperate" than the summer. Further, in the summer, "rough winds do shake the darling buds of May," meaning that the summer takes some of the beauty from the springtime (clearly, a negative trait of...

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