Sonnet 18 Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How does Shakespeare use language for effect in Sonnet 18?  

Shakespeare uses language for effect in Sonnet 18 in a number of ways. He employs metaphors, personification, as well as connotation to impact the mood of the poem and, thereby, the reader. Words with mild and fair connotations are used to describe the speaker's beloved, while words that convey a lack of predictability are used to describe a potential summer's day. These choices help to create a mood of tranquility and stability in regard to the beloved.

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One of the ways in which Shakespeare uses language for effect is by employing words with specific connotations. The language the speaker uses to describe the person he loves is overwhelmingly positive. For example, this beloved is "more lovely and more temperate" than a "summer's day." The words lovely and temperate both have mild and fair connotations, even conveying an elegance and understated beauty.

A summer's day, on the other hand, is described as much less beautiful than the speaker's beloved, and the connotations of the words used to describe it are a good deal less positive than those which describe the beloved him or herself. The wind can be "Rough" enough to "shake" and damage the delicate flowers, the sun can shine "too hot," and even the beauty of the best days will "fade." These words convey a sense of unpredictability and even promote the idea that summer days can be so extreme, while the beloved person is always, "eternal[ly]," temperate and "fair."

These distinct choices help...

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