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Personification in Sonnet 18

Summary:

In "Sonnet 18," Shakespeare uses personification to bring abstract concepts to life. For example, he personifies the sun as "the eye of heaven" and describes it having a "gold complexion." He also personifies death, suggesting it can "brag" about taking lives. These techniques enhance the vividness and emotional impact of the sonnet.

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In Sonnet 18's third line, what is personified?

The speaker personifies wind in the third line of “Sonnet 18.”

Often referred to by its first line as “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day,” Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” compares a woman to a summer day.  Like a summer day, a woman’s beauty is not necessarily going to last.

Personification is describing something nonhuman with a human quality.  In this case, the wind is described as being “rough” in the way that a person would, intentionally shaking the delicate buds.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date: (lines 3-4)

Too soon, the summer’s day with end, just as a woman’s youth will.  Each is beautiful and wonderful, and worthy of celebration.  However, part of the reason is the fact that neither will last.  We appreciate them for the brief time we have them.

Personification allows Shakespeare to add emotion to the poem.  The image of a mean wind messing with the helpless flowers will stick in our heads, and we will feel sorry that neither the summer day nor the woman's youth can last forever.

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What is an example of personification in Sonnet 18?

Shakespeare's famous Sonnet 18 contains several fine examples of personification (the application of human characteristics to nonhuman beings or objects). In line 3, for instance, the winds are rough, and they "shake the darling buds of May." We get the image of the winds as bullies who insist on shaking the cute baby buds just coming out on the trees.

As the poem continues, we hear that summer has a "lease." Like a tenant with a limited rental contract, it must of necessity move on. Further, the sun, the "eye of heaven," has a "gold complexion," a face, that is often dimmed. Both summer and the sun are personified here.

Nature, too, is personified, for it has a "changing course untrimm'd" that makes even the fair ones decline. The metaphor here is that of a sailor who does not control his ship by trimming his sails. Nature is like that. It changes course without warning and seemingly randomly without control.

Finally, the poet says that death shall not "brag thou wander'st in his shade," for the poet has made his subject immortal through his poetry. Death cannot claim that it has captured the poet's subject entirely. Rather, the poem continues to live and gives life to the subject. The poem, too, is personified here, as if it were a living being that could bestow life upon another.

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What is an example of personification in Sonnet 18?

I can add a couple more examples to the previous answers if it will help.

Of course the entire sonnet creates the idea that all the elements of nature share human characteristics which can be compared to the speaker's love. To the examples already discussed I can add some less literal examples.

In line 2, the speaker uses the word "temperate." While this word does refer to the climate of a region, it also can define a personality type that features restraint and moderation, belonging to a person who is not prone to tantrums, violence, or even unexpected mood swings. Here, the speaker is suggesting that his love is less extreme than the summer day, which may switch quickly between mild mornings, extremely hot afternoon temperatures and violent evening storms. This word is an interesting one which can refer to climate or to an individual.

In line 4, the speaker references "summer's lease" to refer to the duration of time that summer exists. The term "lease" is a human concept which indicates an amount of time that a person may occupy a house, apartment, or even a car. The speaker is making the comment that summer does not stay all year, but his true love will be in his life all year long and forever.

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What is an example of personification in Sonnet 18?

Personification is the attribution of human characteristics to things that are non-human. In this sonnet, we see the personification of natural forces.

The use of the adjective 'darling' to describe the plants in May is an example of personification. This kind of adjective is more usually applied to people. Even the image of the 'rough winds' that shake the plants could be regarded as personification to a degree, as it comes across rather as though the winds are deliberately shaking the plants, as a person might.

An obvious example of personification is that of the sun, referred to obliquely as 'the eye of heaven' and said to have a 'gold complexion'. Also, personification here is evident with the use of the word 'his', instead of 'its'.

Death, an abstract noun, is also personified here with the use of 'his', and the image of death 'bragging' about claiming the life of the beloved.

The sonnet itself 'lives', according to the poet, as though it were a person.

Overall, we may observe that the season of summer is also being personified in a way, as it is invoked as a point of comparison with the poet's beloved.

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What is an example of personification in Sonnet 18?

Another example of personification is "eye of heaven."  Just wanted to add that one. :-)

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What is an example of personification in Sonnet 18?

The sonnet goes like this:

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:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

The idea of the sun having a "gold complexion" (line 6) is personification, as is the idea that death can brag about the reader wandering in his shade (line 11).  In addition, the final line, referring to the sonnet having life is also personification.

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What is an example of personification in Sonnet 18?

A metaphor is a comparison that does not use the words "like" or "as." The overarching metaphor in this sonnet is that the speaker's beloved is better than the summer's day they are compared to. In likening the beloved to a summer's day in this novel way, in which the metaphor emphasizes differences rather than samenesses, the speaker is taking a fresh look at the worn-out cliché of comparing a lover to summer's beauties.

A specific metaphor or comparison within the extended metaphor of the beloved as superior to summer is the following:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines

In other words, the comparison of the beloved to a summer's day shows the beloved as better because sometimes the sun (the "eye of heaven") is too hot. This, implicitly, is never the case with the lover.

Likewise, the speaker notes that:

often is his gold complexion dimm'd

In this comparison, the personified sun is shown when he is hidden behind a cloud: summer days are not always beautiful, as the lover always is.

Further, the speaker states:

every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm'd;
This gets to the heart of the lover's superiority: unlike summer, the beloved's soul is not changeable.
Finally, the speaker notes that the beloved, unlike a summer's transitory day, is immortal because the speaker has written this sonnet, the words of which are "eternal."
In comparing a beloved to a summer's day, the poet is able to highlight the ability of art to confer immortality on a subject.
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What is an example of personification in Sonnet 18?

The speaker of Sonnet 18 relies on the metaphor constructed in the first line to create an ongoing, extended metaphor that he returns to throughout the poem.

Initially, the speaker attempts to compare his beloved to a "summer's day," which begins the metaphorical comparison. This relies on the traditional connotations of seasonal representations in literature. While spring is often representative of new life and innocence, summer represents a time of full awakening and more mature experiences. The speaker struggles to find an apt metaphor to convey the beauty of his beloved. After all, the eye of summer is too hot, which is an imperfect comparison. And yet those innocent buds in spring are easily shaken, which fails to represent the strength of his beloved.

The speaker also realizes that seasons ultimately fade from one into the next and that beauty cannot last forever. He later returns to the metaphor originally constructed in the first line, asserting that the "eternal summer" of his beloved shall never fade. This person transcends the barriers and limitations of the natural world, and there is therefore no apt metaphor which can properly capture that type of beauty.

Turning to his own skills, the speaker finally recognizes that his beloved's beauty will be recognized eternally through the lines of this poem. In this way, he believes that he has defied the rules of natural limitations.

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What is an example of personification in Sonnet 18?

The basic notion in Sonnet 18 is that the beloved cannot legitimately be compared to any features of the natural world, no matter how beautiful they may be. This is because the real beauty of the speaker's beloved cannot be captured in the here and now, in a world of constant change, but only in the immortal lines that Shakespeare has deigned to write about them. In that sense, thanks to the wonders of art, the beloved is able to transcend the everyday world in which we all live and which is subject to the ever-changing seasons.

Toward the end of the poem, the speaker alludes to the old horticultural practice of grafting, whereby the branches of one plant would be grafted onto the body of another, thus giving the branches a chance to live on.

When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st

In effect, what Shakespeare is doing here is to "graft" his beloved onto time and, by doing so, allow the beloved to live forever, immortalized in verse. Like all the various features of the natural world, the speaker's beloved will eventually decay and die. But having been grafted onto time by Shakespeare's unforgettable words, they will live on in the poem as it is read, enjoyed, and analyzed by successive generations.

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What is an example of personification in Sonnet 18?

William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18" is one extended metaphor in which the speaker compares his loved one to a summer day. He states that she is much more "temperate" than summer which has "rough winds." He also says she has a better complexion than the sun, which is "dimm'd away" or fades at times. In fact, summer will end at one point, to be replaced by harsher weather. The speaker tells his loved one that her "eternal summer shall not fade" as she ages because he will immortalize her in his poem. Here, Shakespeare crosses the boundary between poet and speaker, and lets us know that they are one (something that we can never assume to be true in a poem). Overall, the Bard uses the extended metaphor of summer to say that the speaker's love is beautiful.

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What is an example of personification in Sonnet 18?

The main metaphor in the poem is the comparison of the speaker’s love to a summer day.

In the first line, the speaker notes that he is going to compare someone to a “summer’s day.”  This person, his lover, is quite a catch. In fact, she is lovelier than a summer’s day!  She has other advantages.

But thy eternal summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest

Her eternal sunshine—a metaphor for her beauty—will last forever, unlike a summer’s day, because she is so lovely.  Although everything that is fair has to decline, she will not.  She will be beautiful “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see.”

In this famous sonnet, we see the traditional practice of comparing one’s girl to something in nature.  Shakespeare often did this, and liked to make fun of it, but in this case we have a simple, straightforward metaphor that will really make a girl feel special.

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What is the importance of personification in the development of Sonnet 18?

Personification plays a very important part in the development of this famous sonnet in the way that it allows the speaker to personify both the sun and death as he develops his argument as to why comparing his beloved to a "summer's day" would actually be a very inadequate and inaccurate comparison to make.

Firstly, the sun is personified as the speaker talks about its many imperfections:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd...

The sun is personified as a face which helps explain the way in which the "eye" of the sun can shine to hotly or its "gold complexion" can sometimes not be as bright and shiny as we would expect it to be. Personifying the sun helps the speaker develop the way in which the sun's imperfections make it an inadequate point of comparison for the beauty of his beloved.

In the same way, death is personified in the following quote:

Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest...

As the capital letter and context illustrates, Death is personified as a man who boasts about the way in which everybody has to come near to him and finally confront him as they age and finally die. The speaker says that this poem will prevent this from happening as he is effectively capturing the beauty of his beloved and keeping it enshrined for all eternity away from the corrupting power of death and aging.

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