Perspectives

Literary period

William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” was probably written sometime between 1590 and 1609. It therefore dates from the early modern period of English literature, which has been important in forming the basis of English literature ever since. 

“Sonnet 18” was published in 1609 as part of a collection of 15…

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Textual perspective

“Sonnet 18” shares various features with other sonnets by Shakespeare. For example, both “Sonnet 18” and “Sonnet 130” reject the convention of comparing the subject to beautiful things, although they do this in different ways. 

In “Sonnet 18”, the speaker sets up a comparison between the young man and a summer’s day, but then argues that the comparison is insufficient because the young man is in fact lovelier than a summer’s day. In “Sonnet 130”, the speaker suggests that the conventional similes used by poets to describe their lovers are unrealistic or meaningless: “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; / Coral is far …

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