Summertime Blues


Summertime Blues Essay, Research Paper

Summertime Blues

Amazing authors can induce thoughts by a single word. The ideas that can form in our heads by a small phrase are powerful. Only the most talented and capable authors can provoke such feelings within us. Who is more than able to stir these feelings in a reader but William Shakespeare? His various plays keep us entranced and curious but it is his poetry that strikes a chord deep within us. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” by William Shakespeare is particularly powerful using specific phrases to evoke the inner feelings of the reader as well as the woman to which he is speaking. Shakespeare creates wonderful imagery by using elegant phrases and key contradictory lines to try to win the heart of his reader, and the woman he loves.

Shakespeare wrote his sonnet when he was deeply in love with a woman. The woman used by Shakespeare is consistent throughout his sonnets, but no one is quite sure of the woman’s identity. An expert on Shakespearian sonnets, Katherine Duncan-Jones, states “one sixth of the sonnets are addressed to the dark lady-and these can be seen as brutally defiant of Petrarchanism, yet the history of criticism is strewn with failed attempts to determine the identity of this mystery woman” (Hadfield). He starts off his sonnet by implanting an image in our head of a summer day. A summer day triggers a scene that flashes in our head of children playing and the sun shining, basically a carefree day where everything is beautiful. He contemplates whether or not to compare his love to this ideal day, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” (Line 1) but decides against it in his second line because he feels his love is “more lovely and more temperate” than this day. He then proceeds to bombard us with images of natural nuisances such as windy days that “?shake the darling buds of May,” (Line 3) the hot weather is magnified because it is coming from heaven, and changing seasons. Shakespeare has taken the idea of a warm breezy summer day and twisted it into a sweltering day with the sun beating down on us. Shakespeare does this because he is so deeply in love with the mystery woman that he turns all of his beautiful scenes into heartache because he cannot have her.

However, in the lines after the destruction of a nice day, he makes us smile by the comments he showers on his love. In the line, “?thy?shall not fade” (Line 9), he tells us that his love’s beauty shall remain the same at all times. He places an exclamation on that line by using the word eternal. It gives us the feeling that her beauty is one that will last until the end of the earth. Shakespeare then goes on to speak about how exquisite she is. She is different from everyone because she will always have what she has now unlike others that will lose it. Even if death looms before her he has to right or reason to “brag.” (Line 11) She will not pale in his shadow. Shakespeare capitalizes Death and personifies him and gives us an image of a grim reaper type character.

In Shakespeare’s ending couplet, he states that no matter what, as long as people are still living and literate, they will read his sonnet. As long as his sonnet is read she will stay alive. His sonnet will “give life to thee.” (Line 14) Shakespeare is immortalizing his love and placing her on a pedestal.

The scenes that Shakespeare throws at us give us ideas of beauty and disappointment. He takes us from a place of pleasure to one of distaste. He makes us go in one direction then turns us around and causes us to go in a three hundred sixty-degree turn. The ride we are taken on is an enjoyable one that makes the sonnet unforgettable which is only done through the explicit images that allow our own ideas to form.

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