1)How does Shakespeare compare the beauty of his friend to that of a summer’s day?  [H.S. = 2016]
Ans. William Shakespeare begins the poem with a question – ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ But the poet declines the idea as he believes that his friend is more lovely and more restrained than summer’s day. The summer has its drawback. It is not permanent. The violent winds destroy beautiful flowers. The duration of summer is too short a date. Sometimes the sun is too hot and sometimes its gold complexion is dimmed by clouds. In this way, the poet excels at his friend’s beauty comparing to that of a summer’s day.
2)What do the rough winds do? What does the poet mean by ‘summer’s lease’? How is the friend’s beauty superior to the summer’s day? [1+1+4 = 6] [H.S. =2020]
Ans. The rough winds shake the darling buds.
By ‘summer’s lease’, the poet William Shakespeare means the duration of summer which is short in period.
The poet believes that his dear friend is more lovely and more temperate than the summer’s day. The violent winds destroy the beautiful buds. The duration of summer is too short a date. Sometimes the sun is too hot and sometimes it is covered by clouds. So, summer days have many disadvantages. It is inconsistent and impermanent while his friend’s beauty is everlasting.
3) ‘And every fair from fair sometime declines.’ – From which poem is the line quoted? Who is the poet? Briefly explain the meaning of the quoted line. How does the poet promise to immortalize his friend’s beauty? [1+1+2+2 =6] [H.S. = 2018, 2022]
Ans. The line is quoted from the poem, ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’, Sonnet No. 18.
The poet is William Shakespeare.
The poet wants to say that nothing is permanent. Even the most beautiful objects of nature would be destroyed by nature’s changing course.
The poet is very much confident that his friend’s eternal summer shall not fade. The eternal lines in the sonnet will make his friend’s glory everlasting. The poet predicts that so long men will live on this earth, the sonnet would give life to him.
4) ‘But thy eternal summer shall not fade.’ – Who is being referred to as ‘thy’? What is meant by ‘eternal summer’? Why shall not ‘thy eternal summer’ fade? [1+1+4 = 6] [H.S. =2019]
Ans. The friend of the poet William Shakespeare is referred to as ‘thy’?
The everlasting youthfulness and beauty of his friend is meant by ‘eternal summer’.
Every beautiful object of nature is subjected to degeneration. But the poet is very much confident that the eternal summer of his friend is everlasting. Death will never grab his beloved or will fade his glory. The eternal lines composed by the poet will preserve his friend’s beauty everlasting. The poet predicted that his sonnet would be acclaimed forever so long men would live on this earth. In this way, his poem would be read and his beloved would be alive.
5) ‘But thy eternal summer shall not fade.’ – Who is the poet? What is meant by ‘eternal summer’? How does the poet suggest that ‘thy eternal summer’ shall never end? [1+1+4 = 6] [H.S. = 2015]
Ans. See the answer to question No. 4
6) ‘But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st.’ – Whose ‘eternal summer’ is being referred to here? What does ‘eternal summer’ mean? What conclusion does the poet draw at the end of his poem? [1+2+3 = 6] [H. S. = 2017]
Ans. ‘Eternal summer’ of Shakespeare’s friend is being referred to here.
‘Eternal summer’ means the everlasting beauty and youthfulness of the poet’s friend.
The ending of the poem is optimistic. The poet wants to preserve his friend’s beauty by going against nature’s changing course. The poet makes a prediction that the eternal lines composed by him would glorify his friend forever so long men would live on this earth.
7) “So long lives this, and this gives life to you.” – What does ‘this’ refer to here? Whom does ‘this’ give life to? How does the poet think that ‘this’ will give life to ‘thee’? [1+1+4 = 6] [H.S. = 2022]
Ans. ‘This’ refers to the sonnet written by William Shakespeare.
‘This’ gives life to the poet’s friend, Mr H.W. (who may be Henry Wriothesly or William Herbert)
The poet was aware of the fact that no human being will live forever. By the passage of time, everyone has to die. But the poet had a strong belief in his immortal lines that they will defeat the relentless time. So long men would live on this earth, the poem would be read. And in this way, his friend’s worthiness and beauty would be celebrated throughout the ages.
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