Sonnet 18
Sonnet 18
by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 18 Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

A Shakespearean Sonnet in Iambic PentameterThis is a classic Shakespearean sonnet with fourteen lines in very regular iambic pentameter. With the exception of a couple relatively strong first sylla...

Speaker

Generally, it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid calling the speaker of a poem by the name of the author. The idea is that the speaker in a work of literature, describing the subject matter, cou...

Setting

Imagine a poet sitting out in a field on a warm but breezy summer day, contemplating the nature of existence and jotting down some poetic philosophy. We imagine it’s kind of like the weather...

Sound Check

When we read this poem out loud, the first thing that strikes us is how neat the whole thing is. It’s so perfectly tied up. Every single line bounces along in perfect iambic pentameter, with...

What's Up With the Title?

Not much to say about the title here. This is indeed a sonnet, and the "Form and Meter" section describes how Shakespeare made the sonnet form his own. As far as the number eighteen is concerned, i...

Calling Card

Artistic Self-referenceSome people like to say that all art is ultimately about two things: love and death. Shakespeare, though, never one to be complacent, noticed that it’s silly to reduce...

Tough-O-Meter

(4) Base CampHere’s a poem that isn’t particularly hard to get through. In fact, if we were just judging on difficulty of comprehending the meaning of the words on the page, this might...

Brain Snacks

The original 1609 Quarto of the sonnets was dedicated "To the only begetter of these ensuing sonnets Mr. W. H. all happiness and that eternity promised by our ever-living poet wisheth the well-wish...

Sex Rating

PGThis sonnet in particular really doesn’t have anything in the way of sex, but if you read the poem in the context of all of Shakespeare's sonnets, it’d be hard to get away with a G ra...

Shout Outs

ReligionThe Bible: In line 11, the speaker refers to the 23rd psalm, when he speaks of Death’s "shade."

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