The contribution of William Shakespeare to the world literature can hardly be underestimated. His huge and immortal popularity among readers of the world is explained by th beauty and power of his lyric works among which sonnets play probably the most significant role. It is necessary to underline that his sonnets are mainly focused on the theme of love and the poet attempts to depict love as an extremely strong feeling, a state of mind and spirit of an individual. Many of his sonnets radiate the insatiable affection of the poet to the subject of his love but, it is necessary to underline that the poet views love as an overwhelming power which devour an individual and rules his actions and thoughts, his feelings and emotions. Sonnet 18 is a perfect illustration of the great power of love which rules the poet and which he feels with all fibers of his soul.
On analyzing his sonnets, it becomes obvious that the poet really admires his beloved. In fact, his love overshadows the surrounding world and is the most important thing to the author, it is the strongest feeling he cannot resist to. In this respect, it is worthy of mention that the power of his love turns to be stronger than any natural power. For instance, in his sonnet 18, William Shakespeare emphasizes the insignificance of the most beautiful and powerful things compared to his beloved:
Shall I compare thou to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate
At the same time, the author metaphorically compares his beloved to the most beautiful things that he can meet in the surrounding nature and which are overshadowed by the beauty of his beloved:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too shot a date
It seems as if the poet cannot fully enjoy the love, his love is really insatiable. William Shakespeare attempts to underline the significance of his love through its comparison to the surrounding nature. It is quite important since traditionally, nature was the subject of the admiration of many poets and was considered the greatest power.
On the other hand, William Shakespeare is fully absorbed by this strong feeling of love to which he cannot resist. He is totally controlled by his affection and he believes that this love will last forever as he states:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest
Moreover, even the death cannot terminate his love since:
Nor shall Death brag though wanderst in his shade
This means that the poet strongly believes in the eternal love which can last for the lifetime and even death cannot separate two persons in love. In fact, this is a really strong argument in favor of the overwhelming power of love since death is traditionally perceived with the end of the life but from the lines of this sonnet that has been just mentioned above, it is obvious that the poet has no fear in face of the death. In stark contrast, he views on the death as a trifle but the most terrible thing that can occur to him is to loose his beloved. This is why he insists that his love will last as long as he lives:
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So, long lives this and this gives life to thee.
In fact, this means that the love of the poet is so strong that he can readily sacrifice his own life for the sake of his beloved. Such self-sacrifice is worthy of admiration but still it symbolizes the great power of love the author attempts to covey to his readers. It should be said that this sonnet perfectly demonstrates that love is the strongest feeling a human being can have since it is sharper than any other feelings or even instincts to the extent that the instinctive desire to live gives in to the insatiable love of the poet that William Shakespeare skillfully depicts in his sonnet 18.
At the same time, this sonnet, as well as many others, reveals the idealistic and romantic views of the poet on love and life at large. He seems to be extremely emotional and he is unable to obey to the commands of his reason, instead, he is a slave of his love, his only master.
Also it should be said that this sonnet is stylistically rich and the author uses various stylistic device to emphasize his love. He uses metaphors, symbols, epithets, simile and other stylistic devices in his work. For instance, he compares his beloved to a “summer’s day”ť.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that William Shakespeare managed to convey his feelings and emotions in his Sonnet 18 to the extent that his poem sounds very convincing, while a reader can hardly keep from believing in the love of the poet. At the same time, stylistic richness of the poem makes it particularly interesting to read and study.