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Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day – William Shakespeare | Class 12 | HS English | Broad Questions | Long Questions

1)How does Shakespeare compare the beauty of his friend to that of a summer’s day? [6] [H.S. = 2016]

Ans. Shakespeare begins the poem with a confusion whether to compare his friend with a summer’s day or not. But he changes his mind at the very moment. He believes that his friend is more beautiful andas3#e restrained than a summer’s day. A summer’s day is beautiful but it has its drawback. Rough winds disturb the beauty of the darling buds.It is short lived. Sometimes it is too hot, at other times it’s splendour is covered by clouds. But the poet thinks his beloved friend’s youth and beauty surpasses all these shortcomings of a summer day. Actually, Aay not comparing his friend’s beauty to a summer’s day, the poet indirectly praises his friend.

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 of May.

By ‘summer’s lease’, the poet William Shakespeare means the short duration of the summer season.

The poet believes that his dear friend is more lovely and more temperate than the summer’s day. The violent winds of summer destroy the beautiful buds. Besides the sun is too hot and sometimes it is covered by clouds. It is also very short in duration. So, summer days have many shortcomings. But the beauty and youth of his friend 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 sonnet no. 18 ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’.

The poet is William Shakespeare.

The poet refers to natural law of time that decays everything. Even the most beautiful objects of nature would be subjected to decay and destruction by nature’s changing course.

The poet confidently proclaims that his friend’s eternal youth and beauty shall not fade. The poet promises to immortalize his friend’s beauty through the eternal lines of his verse. He belives as long men will live on this earth, the sonnet would give life to his friend.

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. William Shakespeare’s young and beautiful friend is being referred to as ‘thy’.

The everlasting youthfulness and beauty of his friend is meant by ‘eternal summer’.


In sonnet no.18 the poet claims that his friend’s ‘eternal summer’ shall not fade.
Everything in this world is subject to degeneration. But the poet would preserve his friend’s beauty and youth through his eternal lines. The lines composed by the poet would continue to last so song men would live on this earth i.e. his friend would live forever in his lines. So naturally, his friend’s ‘eternal summer ‘ shall not fade.

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 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 believes that his lines in praise of his ‘more lovely and more temperate’ friend would withstand the nature’s changing course. The glorification of his young and handsome friend would live in his ‘eternal lines’.

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.

Nothing is everlasting on this earth. But the poet believes that his lines for his friend in the sonnet would defeat the ravages of nature’s untrimmed changing course. His lines would be read and remembered ages after ages. So ‘this’ would give life to the poet’s friend forever.

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