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Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day by William Shakespeare

Autor:   •  October 25, 2013  •  Essay  •  318 Words (2 Pages)  •  879 Views

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Shall I Compare Thee To a Summer's Day by William Shakespeare uses rhetorical questions figurative language, and rhetorical shifts to give his poem various tones.

The rhetorical question used by Shakespeare helps set the tone of the poem. Shakespeare begins his sonnet by asking a rhetorical question. By asking "shall I compare thee to a summers day?" the reader automatically assumes it is a love poem and begins reading the poem with loving emotions. The word "summer" is usually linked with love, happiness and freedom, one can assume that these are a few of the feelings the speaker gets when he is around the person being described. The question serves as a hook to engage the reader into finding out what is coming up next.

Shakespeare's use of figurative language shifts the tone of the poem from loving to a disappointed tone. In lines 2-4 Shakespeare uses imagery, " Thou art more lovely and more temperate: /Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,/ And summer's lease hath all too short a date.", Shakespeare expresses his disappointment towards the change of season and explains how she is stable unlike summer. Imagery is used again in lines 5-6 "Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,/And often is his gold complexion dimmed;", the poet is giving more reasons as to why summer is unstable; sometimes hot, sometimes cold .

The rhetorical shift used within the poem changes the tone of the rest of the poem. The first 8 lines in the poem consist of Shakespeare stating that all good things come to an end. Line 9 serves as a steering wheel to shift the poem by saying "But thy eternal summer shall not fade". From this line on everything said is positive and reassuring towards the woman. The tone changes, back to a loving hopeful one , with the addition of line 9.

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