Language

The language of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” may seem complicated at first. This is due to the fact that it was written over 400 years ago. The poem also makes use of images and wordplay. 

The overall style and tone of the poem is formal. It praises the young man in an almost exaggerated manner while also showing off the skills of the poet (the speaker). The sonnet is a tribute to the young man but also to the poet himself.

The sonnet features several adjectives, which underline emotional qualities: “Thou art more lovely and more temperate: / Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May” (ll. 2-3). Here, adjectives are used to create a clear comparison between the young man and a summer’s day, painting the young man in a much more positive light than the summer’s day. 

The poem plays with language in interesting ways. For example, when...

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