Running head: SHALL I COMPARE THEE? 1
Shall I Compare Thee?
Western Governors University
August 30, 2018
Shall I Compare Thee?
When I first read the poem, Shall I Compare Thee to A Summer’s Day, I thought William Shakespeare was comparing a woman’s beauty to the heat of a summer day. My initial time reading the poem I struggled understanding what the author was trying to relay to us. Part of the reason I had a hard time understanding was because the writing was not from a time that I recognize. I felt like some of the lines were added just to say something. I wasn’t able to make a connection about how lovely someone is and the wind shaking the buds in May. I also thought that he might’ve gotten distracted and just started talking about the seasons because it didn’t seem that he talked about the girl again until the end. I did of course re-read it five more times so that I could get a greater and deeper meaning from the poem.
During my reading, I found myself most interested in the fact that this is a love note. While it is endearing and romantic, it made me realize that things have changed greatly since then. For example, Shall I Compare Thee to A Summers Day is like someone saying the woman is attractive. It is strange that language has changed such an extreme amount from then to the present. I also found it interesting that he was able to write in such an elegant manner using the same number of syllables in each verse. I did a little bit of research on this style of writing and found that it is referred to as iambic pentameter.
We owe many of the words that we use today to Shakespeare. He invented over 1,700 words that we still use on a daily basis today. He was able to do this by changing nouns to verbs, verbs to adjectives, connecting words that were never combined before, adding some prefixes or suffixes, and even creating whole words out of thin air. He is considered to be one of the greatest literary minds of all time. Shall I Compare Thee to A Summers Day is one of Shakespeare’s most famous pieces, but it came on later in his career. I find this intriguing because from his earliest work, people could tell he was going to be amazing. As a matter of fact, in his first published work, Ben Johnson wrote, ‘(Shakespeare) is not of an age, but for all time.’(Amanda Mabillard, 2000) How amazing is it that from the very beginning, he was recognized and told that he wouldn’t be a writer for his time, but for all time? Shakespeare essentially brought the renaissance era to a close and brought us to what many consider, the modern era.
As I mentioned earlier Shakespeare frequently wrote in iambic pentameter. This is where you write with 10 syllables in a l...