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The last line is broken down “so-long-lives-this-and-this-gives-life-to-thee.” So quatrain or couplet within “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day” has 10 syllables. This qualifies the poem as a sonnet.
The rhyme structure of this poem is a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g. An example is the first quatrain has the rhymes “day” and “May” in the first and third lines. The second and fourth lines rhyme with “temperate” and “date”. The second quatrain rhymes “shines” and “declines” in the fifth and seventh line. The sixth and eighth line rhymes “dimmed” and “untrimmed”. The ninth and eleventh line rhymes with “fade” and “shade”. The tenth and twelfth line rhyme with “ow’st” and “grow’st”. The final two lines rhyme with “see” and “thee”. This rhyming pattern is a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g patterning.
Finally, Shakespeare’s “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summers Day” has the topic of beauty and love. Although it is not a requirement to have a love sonnet, Shakespeare use the technique. “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day” is in the style of a Petrarchan Sonnet. The Petrarchan Sonnet is the Italian formed. The English, especially Shakespeare, used this typical technique subject of love. The Petrarchan Sonnet usually spoke of love, beauty, or love not requited.
“Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day” also contains a volta. A volta is a shift in topic in the third quatrain. In the beginning Shakespeare is declaring undying love and comparison to life. However, in the third quatrain the subject leads to death and fading. For
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