“Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare is one of the most famous poems in the English language. The speaker compares the young man to a summer’s day, before rejecting this comparison as insufficient. He then argues that the fair youth will be made immortal by the lines of the poem.
The poem follows the traditional structure of an English sonnet, using a specific 14-line structure and a fixed rhyme scheme. The content of the sonnet follows a linear structure. The first half sets up and challenges the comparison between the young man and the summer’s day. The second half switches the focus on the role of poetry as well as the skills of the poet.
The speaker of the sonnet appears to be a poetic persona of the author. The poem is narrated in the first person and frequently addresses the young man directly.
The “thee” (you) of the poem is widely believed to be a young attractive man. The speaker expresses his love for him and promises to make him immortal. Throughout history, various suggestions have been made as to the identity of the young man.
The language of the poem is generally formal in style and includes old pronoun forms. The poem also makes use of various poetic devices such as personification, metaphors, and repetition.