Stylistic analysis of a shakespearean sonnet

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Stylistic Analysis of a Shakespearean Sonnet

Stylistic Approach In the words of Halliday: We can define linguistic stylistics as the description of literary texts by methods derived from general linguistic theory, using the categories of the description of language as a whole.

Sonnet? Two types of Sonnet : Petrarchan and Shakespearean.A sonnet is a 14 line lyric poem that conforms to strict patterns of rhythm and rhyme. Written in Iambic Pentameter.

Shakespearean and Petrarchan Sonnet

ScansionWhat is it?

What are Structural Devices and Literary Devices?

Structure vs Literary Devices Structural Elements Literary Devices Rhythm

Meter

Rhyme Similes and Metaphors ImageryAlliteration Symbolism ParallelismPersonification

Sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?Thou art more lovely and more temperate:Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,And summer's lease hath all too short a date:Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;And every fair from fair sometime declines,By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;But thy eternal summer shall not fadeNor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Common Feet used in Poetry(~) denotes unstressed and (/) denotes stressed

Iamb (~/) unstressed followed by stressed syllableAnapest (~~/) two unstressed followed by stressed syllableTrochee (/~) stressed followed by unstressed syllableDactyl (/~~) stressed followed by two unstressed syllableSpondee (//) two stressed back to back syllablePyrrhic (~~) two unstressed back to back syllable

Step 1 : Rhyme scheme is :- ABAB CDCD EFEF GG Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?Thou art more lovely and more temperate:Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,And summer's lease hath all too short a date:Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;And every fair from fair sometime declines,By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;But thy eternal summer shall not fadeNor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

Step 2: Determine Rhythmstressed (x) and unstressed (~) syllables

Shall I / com PARE/ thee TO / a SUM / mer's DAY? ~ x ~ x ~ x ~ x ~ x

Thou ART / more LOVE / ly AND / more TEM / per ATE ~ x ~ x ~ x ~ x ~ x It follows an IAMBIC (~x) pattern.

Step 3: Meter Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? la/km pe/i :t/s/mzde/

Thou art more lovely and more temperate: a:/tm:l/vl/ndm:te/mprt/

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, rfw/ndz de/kd:/lb/dz v me/

And summer's lease hath all too short a datends/mzli:/sh:/ltu::/t det/

1 syllable has 1 vowel Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, smta/mtu:h/t a/v he/vnanz

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; nd/fnz/ hz g/ld km plek/ndmd

And every fair from fair sometime declines, ndevr/fe fr/m fes/mtamd/klanz

By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; ba:/ns:ne/eze/ndk:/sntrmd

1 feet has 2 syllables But thy eternal summer shall not fade bta/ t:/nls/m/lnt fed/

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; n:lu:/zpze/nv /t fe a/st

Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, n:l/debr/g a w/ndzt/n hzed

When in eternal lines to time thou growest: wen/n t:/nl la/nz t ta/m agrst

5 feet is a Penta So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, sl/z me/nkn bri:/: a/zkn si:

So long lives this and this gives life to thee. sl/lvz/sn/sgvzla/f ti:

It has 5 feet per line i.e Pentameter.

The poem is in IAMBIC PENTAMETER

MeaningShall I compare thee to a summer's day?

This question is flattering in itself as a summers day is often associated with beauty.

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:Shakespeare, however, explains that his loves beauty exceeds that of the summer and does not have its tendency towards unpleasant extremes:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,And summer's lease hath all too short a date:It should be noted that at the time the sonnet was written, England had not yet adopted the Gregorian calendar and May was considered a summer month. In the above quote, Shakespeare describes the fragility and short duration of summers beauty. The use of the word lease reminds us of the fact that everything beautiful remains so for a limited time only and after a while its beauty will be forcibly taken away.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,And often is his gold complexion dimmed,Shakespeare states that the sun, which he personifies and refers to as the eye of heaven, can be too hot or blocked from view by the clouds unlike his more temperate love.

And every fair from fair sometime declines,By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:The repetition of the word fair highlights the fact that this fate is inescapable for everything that possesses beauty.

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,Nor lose possession of that fair thou owst,

Suddenly (though it was foreshadowed a bit in line 8), the tone and direction of the poem changes dramatically. Moving on from bashing summer and the limitations inherent in nature, the speaker pronounces that the beloved hes speaking to isnt subject to all of these rules hes laid out.

Nor shall death brag thou wanderst in his shadeWhen in eternal lines to time thou growst

Shakespeare, however, states that his love will not lose their beauty to death or time but will be preserved through his poetry:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

(As long as there are humans alive on this planet Your life and beauty will live on through this sonnet)Shakespeares self-assured claim makes it possible to argue that the purpose of the poem was not actually to pay a beloved person a compliment but rather to praise oneself for poetic skill.

Figure of SpeechMetaphor:Shall I compare thee to a summers day?"Thou art more lovely and more temperateBut thy eternal summer shall not fade

Figure of SpeechSymbolism:The darling buds of May the beautiful, much loved buds of the early summer

The eye of heaven Sun

Figure of SpeechPersonification:Rough winds do shake the darling buds of MaySometime too hot the eye of heaven shinesNor shall death brag thou wanderst in his shade

26

Figure of SpeechAnaphora:So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

27

Interlink b/w FORM and CONTENT Rhetoric tradition of Italian sonnet. The three quatrain plus couplet form of Shakespeares sonnets also allow the speaker to use a dominant metaphor or image for each quatrain as he leads to his resolution in the concluding couplet.