Like much of Shakespeare’s work, Sonnet 18 is all about writing and expressing one’s self through language. This is, at its clearest, a poem about the power of the written word over death, fate, and possibly even love.
Questions About Literature and Writing
- Is this speaker trying to be a good writer? Do you think he succeeds?
- Line 11 features an unusually clear Bible reference. What’s the deal with that?
- How does someone "grow" in "eternal lines to time" (12)? What’s up with that?
- Does Shakespeare’s poetry actually make the beloved more "eternal" than summer? Is that even possible?
Chew on This
Sonnet 18 can be read as a critique of reasoning by analogy, as the speaker, running through a series of increasingly tangential musings, completely loses sight of what he set out to do.