Find a literary term (poetic device) in Shall I Compare Thee

For a homework grade, we will ask students to create a “comment” for this post by 10:30pm tonight.  Reread Shakespeare’s sonnet and identify one literary device or tool.  Then in your comment thread, type out the sentence from the poem.  Then define how your example is indeed an examples of that device. Finally explain how Shakespeare uses that tool to express his overall meaning of the


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16 Responses to “Find a literary term (poetic device) in Shall I Compare Thee”

  1. LT Says:

    Through out this sonnet Shakespeare uses Imagery to describe the summer day and the woman he is writing about. “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,” this quotation makes it about as clear as possible that he is describing using imagery. Imagery is an important device here because Shakespeare uses it to connect the summers day to the woman and uses hidden meanings in the words of his images to describe emotional and physical characteristics thus drawing in personification into his imagery. It is as if Shakespeare starts with one device and then slowly intertwines other devices with in the first.

  2. bev_rogan Says:

    “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
    Thou are more lovely and more temperate” -lines1,2
    These two lines are an example of the literary device allegory. Shakespeare’s question, is not in fact, “shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” but more the second line, “Thou are more lovely and more temperate,” for he is asking, “why should I compare you to a summer’s day if I know you are actually more ‘lovely’ and ‘temperate?'” The underlying importance of the second line upholds the first line. The second line is really the question Shakespeare had in mind, rather than the first line. He is also stating that the woman in question is more pleasant and beautiful than a summers day. It’s like saying, “should I bring you a sandwich? oh never mind, you don’t like sandwiches.” He knows the answer to his first question, that the woman on his mind is far more beautiful and superior in his mind than a summer’s day.

  3. Alex Altholz Says:

    ” Rough winds do shake the darling buds of may”. this is an example of a symbol, because ‘buds of may’ there is a bigger meaning to that line. the buds represent one image from spring-time during the month of may. this line is important to the entire story because it gives the reader a vivid picture of the setting. There is also a pattern of many small descriptions that stand for bigger pictures.

  4. EDW Says:

    “Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
    Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun”

    These is the second and third lines of a Shakespeare sonnet. In these lines Shakespeare is using the poetic tool of metaphor. Shakespeare does this by taking two different things and making connections between the two. When Shakespeare says, “Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
    Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun” he is comparing the faults of natural and everyday things with the imperfections of life. Shakespeare is essentially making the reader feel better about their faults and letting the reader know that everyone makes mistakes. Shakespeare even goes as far as to say, “All men make faults, and even I, in this.” Shakespeare’s point is that all men make mistakes and he is no exception. He comforts his reader with a metaphor.

  5. T_Uszakiewicz Says:

    “But thy eternal summer shall not fade.” – line 9
    This quotation is an example of a metaphor. Shakespeare uses this metaphor to compare his lover’s inner beauty to an “eternal summer.” The message of the poem is greatly influenced by this metaphor because the entire purpose of the poem is to compare his lover to summer. His lover has attributes as beautiful as summer, except for the fact that they “shall not fade.” In essence, this metaphor is stating that his lover is even more beautiful than summer, which is also the message of the poem as a whole.

  6. FOGhorn Says:

    Through Shakespeare’s sonnet, he uses a question as well as a strong metaphor that sets the tone for the reader. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” This rhetorical question expresses his desire to compare his lover to a summer’s day as well as immortality. He knows he will compare the two, but asks only to draw the reader in. Shakespeare’s vision of immortality is expressed through summer’s recurrent force. With Shakespeare’s abilities, he is confident of his abilities to compare his lover to anything. He chooses immortality because “So long lives this”, his lover will be remembered “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see”, or for eternity. This question and metaphor express Shakespeare’s ability to compare anything together. His strong love for this woman is revealed through his comparison of a lovely summer’s day and his beloved.

  7. B_Doyle Says:

    One literary device that springs into my mind right away, is metaphor. In the first line, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”(line 1, Sonnet 18) Right away I notice that he’s going to compare the woman to a summer’s day. The summer day represents her beauty. This is an immediate metaphor from her beauty to the beauty of the summer. The beauty of the summer is specified as “heaven shines” (line 5) Also “darling buds of May” get ruffled by the wind, buds are flowers that are nearly flourished. Metaphor is the main literary termed exemplified in this story.

  8. Shang Wu Says:

    “And often is his gold complexion dimmed.” This sentence directly implies Shakespeare’s use of a metaphor. It refers to something precious or of value, such as gold. Shakespeare was stating that when things are going well, they often do not last forever. Similar to money, it will eventually deplete if spent. However, if these materialistic things do eventually decline, his “eternal summer” meaning love shall never fade.

  9. Sheree Says:

    “And every fair from fair sometime declines.” In this line, Shakespeare uses figurative language. He tells two important stories, with just this one line. Because the title of the sonnet is “Shall I Compare Thee To a Summer’s Day,” it is easy to infer that he is speaking of a woman’ beauty. He is saying that to matter how beautiful she may be now, her beauty will naturally fade. Also, with this same line, he tells another story. He suggests that everything that is good in life will eventually fade. Nothing lasts forever.

  10. snofreak343 Says:

    “Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o’er-sways their power,”(Sonnet 65, Line 1,2) This quote expresses symbolism in the way that Nature and its forces cannot alter the inner strength of one’s being. Only the being themselves can make a difference and change their decisions.

  11. bsullivan35 Says:

    “By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed
    By thy eternal summer shall not fade,”

    This quotation from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, compares the love he has with his lover to a summer that will not fade. This literary device is known as a metaphor. Shakespeare shows that although his lovers physical beauty will not remain forever and overtime will fade, their love “eternal summer” will not.


  12. Parker Says:

    In Shakespeare’s “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day”, he expresses his affection for either a lover of his, or on behalf of someone purchasing his work. There are strong undertones of metaphor along with slight personification reflecting the affects of nature and then comparing them to the so though Lover.

  13. EDW Says:

    “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of may”

    Shakespeare is using cacophony in this line. Cacophony is a sound tool that is commonly used not to please the reader but to let the reader know the harshness of what Shakespeare. In this line Shakespeare is comparing summer to may. He is letting you know that May is a lot worse then summer. When he uses words like “rough winds” it reminds you of a chilly day and the wind is whistling through the trees and it is not a nice sound. Shakespeare then uses the word rattle. Rattling is a loud and unpleasant sound. By using words that remind you of unpleasant sounds it helps Shakespeare bring home the idea of Spring is not as nice as Summer.

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