Group Reports/ Members Vivian Maggie Rebecca Fiona Grace


William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

" Should I compare you to a summer's day"

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds"


Tuesady, March 21, 2000

About Life of William Shakespeare
1. Paraphrase
2. Introduction to Sonnet
3. Metaphors
4. Structure
5. Personal Opinion

Complied and Designed by BUCK LEE


The Life of William Shakespeare

1556 - Anne Hathaway is born.

1564 - William Shakespeare is born in April (probably the 23rd) in Stratford-On-Avon (94 miles from London.)

1582 - Marries Anne Hathaway on November 27.

1583 - Susanna Shakespeare is born.

1585 - The twins Judith and Hamnet Shakespeare are born.

1592 - After leaving Stratford for London, William was recognized as a successful actor, as well as a leading poet. He was a member of 'The Chamberlain's Men'.

1596 - Hamnet dies at the age of eleven. Shakespeare becomes a "gentleman" when the College of Heralds grants his father a coat of arms.

1597- He bought a large house called "The Great House of New Place".

1599 - The 'Globe Theater' is built from the pieces of 'The Theater' in July.1603 - 'The Lord Chamberlain's Men' became 'The King's Men' on May 19.

1613 - The 'Globe Theatre' burns during a performance of Henry VII when a canon fired on the roof sets fire to the straw thatch. The theatre is rebuilt, but Shakespeare retires.1616 - April 23, in Stratford, on his 52nd birthday he died.


"Should I compare you to a summer's day"


Should I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Should I compare you to a summer's day?

Although you are much more lovely and gentle.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date;

Violent winds destroy the beautiful buds

of the mayflower. And summer is too short.

Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;

Sometimes the sun shines too hot, and

sometimes his glory is too bright that dims our visions.

And every fair from fair sometimes declines,

By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:

Normally beauty will fade because of the change of time and nature.

But thy eternal summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;

But your beauty will not fade nor will you lose possession of your fairness.

Nor shall Death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;

Death can't boast that you're wondering in his shadow.

You will last forever with the lines of this poem.

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and

As long as men live or eyes can see, this poem will exist and so will you.

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds"

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

If love be beaten by difficulties, don't let me be in love.

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

Love is not love if it changes when meeting

alteration or be defeated by situation.

Oh, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

Oh, no! Love is an everlasting mark.

When love faces the violent storm, it will not be shaken.

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love is the star to every wondering ship.

Although they don't know the real value of love,

still, like the ship, they will always follow the star.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love will not be fooled by time,

but beauty and youth cannot escape from time.

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

Love will never change with the short time,

even till the end of the world.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved

If I am wrong and being proved on,

I have never written this poem nor did any men have ever been in love.


Introduction to Sonnet

Shakespearean Sonnet

A shakespearean sonnet has three quatrains and a couplet, and rhymes abab cdcd efef gg. A shakespearean sonnet frequently introduces a subject in the first quatrain, expands it in the second, and once more in the third, and concludes in the couplet.

Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet

An Italian sonnet is composed of an octave, rhyming abbaabba, and a sestet, rhyming cdecde or cdcdcd, or in some variant pattern, but with no closing couplet. In both types, the content tends to follow the formal outline suggested by rhyme linkage, giving two divisions to the thought of an Italian sonnet and four to a Shakespearean one. The Italian sonnet develops and idea through eight lines and then pauses, creating a turn or volta, before the concluding six.


Quatrain: A stanza of four lines, rhymed or unrhymed. With its many variations, it is the most common stanzaic form in English.

Octave: (1) The first unit in an Italian sonnet: eight lines of iambic pentameter, rhyming abbaabba. (2) A stanza in eight lines.

Sestet: (1) The second unit of an Italian sonnet, following the octave. To the abbaabba rhyme of the octave, the sestet adds six lines rhyming cdecde, cdcdcd, or in some variant pattern. (2) A stanza of six lines.

Couplet: A pair of rhymed metrical lines, usually in iambic tetrameter or pentameter. Sometimes the two lines are of different length.

Volta: The turn of thought occurring after the octave of an Italian sonnet. The term may also be applied to other places where a turn of thought occurs, as sometimes after the first two quatrains of a shakespearean sonnet.



"Should I compare you to a summer's day"

summer's day --- thee

the eye of heaven --- sun

golden complexion --- sunshine

eternal summer --- her beauty

fair --- her beauty

nature's untrimmed changing course --- unpredictable fate

death's shade --- death's influence


(3) rough winds blowing the buds of May.

(5-6) sometimes the sun shines too hard and sometimes the sun's blocked by the cloud.

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds"

marriage of true minds --- true love.

ever-fixed mark--- love

tempest--- difficulty, disturbance

star--- love.

rosy lips & cheeks--- youth & beauty

edge of doom--- end of the world


(5~6) A storm and an ever-fixed mark.

(7~8) A wandering small boat on the sea in night, under the stars.

( 9~10) A young person aging?



First quatrain First denial Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.
Question Can love be love if it changes easily? Can love overcome all the difficulties?(implies that love don't permit change)
Second quatrain Second denial Denying the changing of love.
First reason Love is an ever-fixed mark and a star to every wandering bark.Love can never be measured or judged by the common ideas.
The couplet Second reason Love isn't time's fool. It can last forever even to the edge of doom and it fears nothing.
Conclusion/Clarification Love does exist. The speaker declares that if he's wrong about his attitude toward love, then no man ever loved.



From first quatrain to third quatrain, we can find "time" for love becomes longer and longer till eternity. The speaker is William Shakespeare. The speaker is rather like a man who believes in love so much, and in his point of view, love can conquer everything. We can trace the ideas from the second and third quatrain. The violent storm and emotionless time can change nothing of the real love The listener is everybody. (There is no specific person mentioned in this sonnet) The tone of this sonnet is determined and sincere, not playful. He even says if his ideas are wrong, then no one has ever been in love. From this we can see that he insists on his point of view. He wants to give people a clear understanding for love, to reinforce the importance and existence of love.





Reflection of "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

Normally I regard summer as the most beautiful season of a year. I think summer is passionate because it is usually hot and it lightens everything around us brightly. Apparently the author---William Shakespeare doesn't think so, for he thinks that summer is too hot and too short, also it's not appropriate for describing the fairness of a girl. I think he wants the girl in his poem sounds extremely beautiful and unique; he tries to find the best adjective for the girl, and I think he does an" impressive" job. He breaks the ordinary sense for the beauty and creates a new image here to describe the real fairness. He emphasizes on the everlasting beauty and youth which will not fade with time. I doubt if physical beauty can live long and last forever? Does that really matters? What if physical beauty doesn't exist forever? Does inner beauty play an equal role? Is the main point of this sonnet to express the eternity of physical beauty rather than the inner beauty? I think first quatrain gives a little clues here. It mentions the temperament of the girl---thou art more lovely and more temperate---and I can find nothing. As far as I am concerned, inner beauty is more attractive to me while you can't underestimate the necessity of physical appearance.

Reflection of "Let me not to the marriage of true minds"

I am touched by the determined words of William Shakespeare. His picky attitude toward love makes me feel his eager of pure and true love. He has a theory of his love philosophy. It looks to me that he asks for the one hundred percent pure love, and he thinks of love as invincible. That is to say, he thinks that nothing can stand against true love of true minds. As long as they're in love, there shouldn't be any problems, if there's any, then couples should overcome it. Love can bear anything, there will always be fine if love is around. I think these days people overlook what love can do to them and even to the world, not only the love of couples,but also the love of family, friends, and every people who is connected with you. Here this sonnet talks about love, and I think Shakespeare wants us to think more about love, because of that he provides his loyalty for love. At the last two sentences, he clarify himself if anyone can prove that he's wrong about love, he would say it out loud that nobody has ever loved. He is so proud of his love and it really does convince me.

Vivian's Reflection

There must be a reason why Shakespeare's considered the greatest poet and dramatist the world has ever known. No other writer's plays or sonnets have been produced SO many times or read SO widely in SO many countries. I think it's unbelievable how a man could write such beautiful and touching poems. He had his own way of understanding human nature, that made his figures more full of humanity. His characters often have meaning beyond that certain time and place which made us to dive in a lager speculation. I love the way he use words with double meanings. Although often I don't understand what he's referring to, but I could imagine some of the picture in my head. Perhaps the reason why Shakespeare has the ability of making us dizzy with his works is because he had knowledge in a wide variety of other subjects. Such as music, science, art, politicsˇK..What other poets don't. I enjoy having the chance to read Shakespeare's work but maybe next time we can discuss more about it. Because many times I find myself clueless toward his poems. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone had written such beautiful poem to us? I would be so touched by him!! Even if he's not the right guy for me, I guess I'd still be glad to be cherished by him. Because after all, we are girls. Hopefully, someday, somewhere, I will be the girl in that poem. HAHA

Rebecca's Reflection

It could be a challenge to try to understand Shakespeare's sonnets. It takes a good ability of observation, imagination, and to associate it with other stuffs. Shakespeare really thinks really fast!! In a short sonnet, there often is a debate, which have to contain at least explanation of two different kinds of thoughts, the pros and cons of each, and the conclusion. Unlike other poets who wrote them in a really long poem, Shakespeare puts his thoughts into fourteen lines beautifully!! No wonder he is a legendary person. I wasn't able to understand his sonnets completely. I think by reading his poems, you can see how little knowledge you have in literature. It is said that each time you read Shakespeare's sonnet, you got a brand new idea. I hope that one day in the future, I would be able to get more pleasure and understand it in a more perspective way than I am doing now .

Christin's reflection

After reading several metaphysical poems, and now, I have to adore Shakespeare again. We can see the passionate love but not vulgar in his writing; it's so sincere and so touching. Also if we look at the writing skills and his choosing of words, we will know that no wonder Shakespeare is forever. In all types of poems, I love metaphysical ones most. I enjoy and admire those fascinating words in the lines. I believe people of this modern, busy age would love to live in that age so that they can relax and appreciate the beauty of these works which are not that emphasized now. I love the feeling that the poem brings to me through those metaphors. For example, the "ever-fixed mark" and the "star to every wandering bark" in "Let me not to the marriage of true minds." With these words, we can see the vivid images and feel the greatness of his love. And in "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" I like the words in below: "the eye of heaven shines" and "his gold complexion dimmed" which also show the readers the images. How did he do this? I mean to make "sun" and "sunshine" so beautiful words? And the sentences "But thy eternal summer shall not fade, nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, nor shall Death brag thou wand rest in his shade, when in eternal lines to time thou grow'st." touched my heart so deeply as I read it the first time. Though everyone knows that human beings' beauty will fade one day, after reading these words, I think that every girl may try to appreciate herself more because the fairness will exist in her lover's heart forever.

Grace's Reflection

I believe a young girl like me would have more interests on poetry about love, and I have always wanted to read poems written by Shakespeare. I was surprised when I know that we are going to talk about the sonnet "Let me not to the marriage of true minds". It was the first and only sonnet from Shakespeare that I've read before. And after some hard works and the materials we found, now I can truly understand about it. I found Sonnet 116 amazing and I agreed with it entirely. I think that Shakespeare used several great images to say that true love doesn't change with time. Though time is cruel, beauty and youth cannot escape from it, but only true love can defeat it. And through the imagery of the wandering ship and the line "But bears it out even to the edge of doom", reminds me of the movie "Titanic". Though Jack and Rose only had so limited time being together, they found true love in each other. So when the ship was sinking, which is the end of doom, they wanted to be together. But Rose promised to Jack that she will live on, and that is another way of showing true love exists.

And also in Sonnet 18, I think it still remains to the idea that physical beauty will fade away. But in this sonnet he tries to make his love everlasting by putting the girl in the sonnet, and he is so confident that his poem will become famous and make her and his love pass from generation to generation. I think these two sonnets are very romantic and I am really touched by it. I hope I can find love that can conform the love in these two sonnets someday.