What are some literary devices used in Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare? Is it an example of the pathetic fallacy?

Literary devices used in Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?," include extended metaphor, personification, and rhetorical questions. There is some debate over whether or not this sonnet also employs pathetic fallacy.

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William Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?" begins with a rhetorical question that the poet nevertheless proceeds to answer. The nature of the question is a clue to the true focus of the poem, which isn't necessarily the person who is being compared to a summer's day.

A pathetic fallacy is a poetic device in which human emotions are assigned to objects, animals, or elements in nature. A pathetic fallacy is similar to personification, in which human qualities or characteristics, but not necessarily human emotions, are assigned to an object, animal, or elements in nature, such as "The eye of heaven" and it's "gold complexion" (lines 5-6), and perhaps "death brag" (line 11).

Some scholars contend that the entirety of Sonnet 18 is a pathetic fallacy, in that the poet assigns emotional qualities to the summer day and its component parts, such as the "rough winds" and "darling buds of May" (line 3), and the "too hot eye of heaven" (line 5).

Certainly these words might...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1067 words.)

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