Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day Theme

Topics: NatureSummer

This sample paper on Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day Theme offers a framework of relevant facts based on the recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body and conclusion of the paper below.

Love poetry has been written for many centuries. The ideas expressed by Shakespeare and Browning are still relevant today. Love is not a tangible thing; it is an emotion so it can be perceived in many different ways. Shakespeare has infamously used sonnets to express his ideas on love.

‘Shall I compare thee…? ‘ is a sonnet in which Shakespeare focuses on immortalisation through words. ‘Let me not’ is another sonnet written by Shakespeare in which he expresses his views and the theme of the strength of love. I choose Robert Browning’s, Porpyria’s lover to compare to the above poems.

As it is a dramatic monologue, which provides an insight into another existing love. The love conveyed in Porphyria’s lover is obsessive love.

This provides are sharp contrast to the above sonnets. Let me not is written in third person, which gives it an authoritive tone in this case. The authoritive tone adds to the theme of the strength of love. This theme is expressed within this poem in a rather exaggerated manner. Although this manner is very appropriate for this poem, because it hammers home the point of the poem!

The imagery of a sailing ship in a storm is used in the second quatrain- to describe Shakespeare view on love.

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Also love is said to be a star to ‘every wandering barke’- which is a ship. This explains that Shakespeare believes love and marriage is the right path to go along. The imagery used within this poem describes love in the form of tangible things like a ship. This makes it easier for the reader to imagine and realise Shakespeare’s message. The other two poems do not use this literary devise of expressing love in tangible forms.

Who Was Shakespeare’s Lover

Although Shakespeare is attempting to describe love by giving it limits through tangible forms, he still says that the ‘worth’s are unknowne’ meaning love is inestimated and limitless. This is a similar theme to one in shall I compare thee…? which is everlasting. A sub theme of everlasting is also expressed in this sonnet ‘love alters not with breefe houres and weekes’. All three of the poems attempt to defy time through love, although they do this in very different ways. Shakespeare is almost trying to teach a lesson to the society of that time, a lesson that is still relevant today.

Due to the lesson being on love and marriage it adds to the religious element within this poem. Also due to the large volume of hyperbolic language, it seems as though Shakespeare is religiously preaching to us. For example ‘ love…. Beares it out even to the edge of doom’. The religious aspect of avoiding divorce is shown here. The religious tone in this poem differentiates it very much from the other two poems. As the tone in Shall I compare thee…? Is light and airy and the tone in Porphyria’s lover is conspiring. The rhyming couplets of Shakespeare’s sonnets are the most power literary tool.

His confidence in his belief of this sonnet adds greatly to the creditability of it. This rhyming couplet exemplifies this ‘ If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ nor no man ever loved’ Shakespeare is challenging anyone to come and prove his belief to be wrong- if they dare that is. Shall I compare thee is also written in third person. However is this instance this makes the voice of the poem detached from the poem. This further gives all the importance of the poem to the subject, who is Shakespeare’s lover. The tone in this poem is light and airy to add to the theme of summer.

The beloved within this poem is being described as superior to a summer’s day. The sonnet starts with a question- ‘shall I compare thee to a summers day? ‘ And the rest of the sonnet is the answer. Shakespeare describes the summer as a subordinate to his beloved. He complains summer- the best season for sometimes being too hot or too windy and too short ‘And Sommers lease hath all too short a date’. Shakespeare believes his lover will outlast the summer ‘By thy eternall Sommer shall not fade’ Shakespeare is describing his lover as everlasting, which as I mentioned before is one of the themes of love expressed in Let me not.

We are progressively being introduced to a problem throughout the poem. The problem is, how is this girl going to outlive death ‘ Nor shall death brag thou wandr’st in his shade. ‘ The solution is in the rhyming couplet. Shakespeare has immortalised the girl’s beauty within the words of the poem. She won’t literally avoid death but she will verbally last forever. The poem is what gives life to the lover forever because the poem is what is going to last forever. A sharp contrast to this poem would be Porphyria’s lover.

Here the lover also attempts to immortalise his beloved although not in the same romantic way. In Porphyria’s lover the lover tries to immortalise the moment Porphyria is all his by strangling her to death with her own hair. Porphyria’s lover starts with turbulent scenes with wild weather, which of course the lover is describing. The weather also represents the lovers feelings at that time ‘the sullen wind was soon awake…. and did it’s best to vex the lake’- The lover is in an angry mood this is evident by the harsh tone.

When Porphyria enters the cottage the harsh atmosphere is broken. There is now a warmer atmosphere ‘Blaze up all the cottage warm’ she is described to ‘glide’ in which is sensuous. The lover now builds up an erotic scene so the impact of the shock will be great at the end. Porphyria makes all the advances in this poem but the lover remains passive. ‘And called me, when no voice replied’ this tells us a lot about their relationship. It seems to be one-sided in this instance, but because we have access to the lover’s secret thoughts so we know he is obsessed with her.

As the seductive scene is going on the lover reveals his thoughts on Porphyria. The lover believes Porphyria doesn’t love him, as she is too vain and her pride stops her passion for him- from setting free ‘she too weak for all her hearts endeavour, to set its struggling passion free from pride and vainer ties dissever and give herself to me forever’ There is a long build up to the strangling, although we do see danger signs in the lover for the need to murder Porphyria ‘Nor could to-nights gay feast restrain a sudden thought of one so pale.

The lover shows control of the situation, which is expressing a possessive side to him, a theme of love, which is not expressed in neither of the other two poems. The tone in the poem is chilling at this point ‘while I debate what to do’ Even more so chilling when he says ‘I found a thing to do’ Then he strangles her with her own hair. After she dies he says ‘No pain felt she’ and then repeats by changing the syntax’ she felt no pain’ the repetition further expresses the theme of possessiveness within the poem. He thinks he has the authority to say whether she felt pain or not.

The repetition could either mean he is resenting what he did or convincing himself he did the right thing. The lover uses a simile to describe Porphyria’s dead eyes. As a shut bud that hold a bee. ‘ This implies she herself was someone who stung him meaning hurt him. He opened her eyelids and personifies her eyes by saying they ‘laughed’ at him ‘ without a stain’ implying she was innocent. The laughing is a misconception in the obsessed lover’s mind. The lover then untightened her hair from her neck, then props up her head as if she were alive.

The lover is no glad because he got what he wanted ‘so glad it has it’s utmost will that all that scorned at once has led’ and I it’s love am gained instead’ Here the lover refers to Porphyria as ‘it’. The lover thinks he has gained all he could out of the situation and is surprisingly happy. Also he thinks God has sanctioned his actions! ‘And all night we have not stirred And yet God has not said a word’ Out of the three poems I have compared, I feel shall I compare thee expresses love in the most appealing, way as it probably had the best inspiration.

It combines the element of immortalisation from Porphyria’s lover and the trueness of let me not -in the correct manner to achieve full effect. The hyperbole in let me not makes us understand that poems message very seriously, as Shakespeare probably wanted us to do, but it doesn’t show us how love could actually make us feel as ‘Shall I compare thee’ does The shock in Porphyria’s lover makes that poem less appealing thus less successful in making the reader enjoy it. Plus it doesn’t express a true love, which everyone wants to experience.

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Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day Theme. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day Theme
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