As we cherish and praise William Shakespeare for his sonnet 18, let’s not forget Giacomo da Lentini, also known as Jacopo (il) Notaro, an Italian poet of the 13th century, who invented sonnet.
Like most of the 154 Shakespearian sonnets, sonnet 18 was also speaking of love. That is why the theme of love, the theme of immunity and the theme of immortality can be found in the poem.
Some new generation pupils might find it hard to understand the language of the poem because it’s archaic. We refer to it as the Elizabethan English; except for those familiar with the old king James Version of the Holy Bible.
The language of this sonnet is said to be the simplest in comparison with other Shakespearean sonnets. The tone is calm with an optimistic mood of assurance.
Let’s look at the themes:
The Theme Of Love:
Shakespeare revealed his love through the image of beauty, simplicity and certainty. He compared his lover to “…a summer’s day?/ thou art more lovely and more
temperate” (line 1 and 2) because those qualities of hers, he cherished.
The Theme Of Immunity:
What is Immunity? The state of being insusceptible to something of having strong resistance. Few of the things human being cannot resist are death, aging, etc. Shakespeare made readers to realise in Sonnet 18 that his lover was immune to aging and death. From line 3-8, he wrote how summer, sun, flower, etc. come and later die or disappear; starting from line 9, he told the readers that his own lover will neither grow old, lose beauty nor die.
“But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,”(line 9-11)
The Theme Of Immortality:
“When in eternal lines of time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”(line 12-14)
The poet made us to know that his lover will live forever as far as men live and eyes continue to see things written because he has immortalized her with this Sonnet 18; that’s the power of poetry.
William Shakespeare (April 26, 1564-April 23, 1616) was 52 years old before death. An English poet and writer, he married Anne Hathaway with three children.