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Home » » How is nature treated in the sonnet No 18 by Shakespeare

“Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day” is a beautiful sonnet among the long sequence of 154 sonnets composed by William Shakespeare. In this sonnet Shakespeare glorifies his friend’s (who is arguably the Earl of Southampton) beauty by comparing him with the day of a summer as well as with the beauty that nature offers. Of course Shakespeare has treated nature positively, but in order to enhance the beauty of his friend he shows the drawbacks in natural beauty. The poet refers to the whims of nature to highlight his friend’s quality which is free from all irregularities and whims. 

The world famous dramatist and poet Shakespeare has not idealised nature illogically. He is aware of the mirth and brightness of a summer’s day. This is why he has compared his friend with a summer’s day. On the other hand he contrasted his friend with summer by finding some defects of summer or other natural elements. The poet is very rational to find out the whims in the course of nature. Things do not go on with strict course. The whims of nature bring disaster and calamity. The poet says that summer is nice and enjoyable but one can easily find that a rough wind has destroyed the darling buds of May. Moreover, the beauty of summer vanishes quickly. These drawbacks of summer has been beautifully portrayed thus: 

“Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” 

Again, the poet rationally points out the very truth that ‘nature’s changing course is untrimmed’. Seasonal changes follow a usual course but very often weather of a day changes unusually. In summer usually the sun shines brightly but suddenly it may go under cloud and its ‘gold complexion’ may be dimmed. The flowers and buds of this season are suddenly shaken by rough winds. The season is very brief too. Thus Shakespeare has treated nature with its beauty as well as shortcomings. 


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