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The imagery of a poem is a set of pictures produced in the mind of the readers by imaginative language. In Shakespeare's "Sonnet-XVIII", there are several pictures evoked in the minds of the readers by the use of words. There are images of a summer's day, rough winds,  the withering of blooming roses, the leasing of possession, the hot sunshine, the dim sunshine, Death,  the underworld, and the end of human civilization. Apart from these,  there is an image of inimical time. Most of these images are drawn from nature and used to convey the intended meaning of the poem.

The poem opens with an image of a day in summer suggesting the charm and beauty of the speaker's friend. The poet then uses the image of rough winds and blooming roses of spring to imply that a comparison between the friend and a day in summer is not befitting because the friend's qualities are higher than the qualities of summer's day. Next,  he uses the image of "lease" suggesting the time limit and enmity of time. The images of hot and cold temperatures have been used to suggest unpredictable changes in nature during summer. The eye of heaven, an image created by the use of a metaphor, establishes a relationship between the friend's beauty and the higher spheres of the universe. The image of mutability has been suggested by the phrase "nature's changing course ". it also indicates the enmity of time. Then follows the image of bragging "Death ", a personification, and its dark underworld, suggesting a sharp contrast between the deathless friend and the transitory summer, At last, comes the image of the continuing human civilization suggesting again the immortality of the friend's beauty.

The imagery of "Sonnet -XVIII", is, therefore,  very carefully chosen to suggest the theme of beauty and mutability. The handsome youth has been presented in contrast with the mutable summer. There is a struggle between the friend and the time,  and the friend survives in the end. He becomes immortal.


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Comment on the imagery of the sonnet

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