Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 Relating to the Renaissance Period
Throughout the works of Shakespeare lie detailed clues and personal impressions of the writers' social ideals. Especially in sonnet 18 Shakespeare demonstrates his humanist nature that is evident of the influence of the Renaissance period. After reviewing the sonnet several times with writer and literature expert Heather Smith we noticed that there are classic references to the value system of the Renaissance period.
Much of the language symbolizes the Renaissance view of human dominance over nature. It seems that Shakespeare is pointing out how humanity is the center of the living universe with every other object there to serve the needs of humanity. After the introduction of beauty and nature Shakespeare elevates the status of man and woman in the following sentence with “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”. He then describes all of the beauty of nature that falls short of the vibrant nature of humanity. This ideal of the human greatness is a textbook example of period thought. This love of praise is Shakespearean language to the core. Setting the stage and then setting mankind on a pulpit. Placing values on the nonliving and then escalating the levels to the greatness and intelligence of mankind.
While nature has in itself beauty, the spirit of mankind is eternally more powerful. The friendship for writer and subject is clearly evident and shares an heir of concern for understanding the dominance of nature. Each sentence brings another notion further of confidence through age and changes of life. The love of fellow person as well as respect for self is another aspect of humanism that is important for the ability to spread the movement forward. The self-respect of this time period is captured in the lines of this sonnet and truly have lived on as Shakespeare has intended.
As the sonnet continues Shakespeare discusses how youth shall not fade out and beauty will not be lost by the subject of the poem. The efforts to use complex language and relevant is a guise that dresses up the language that continues to put forth man’s dominance even over death. Shakespeare gives power to the enlightened pen and suggests that the poem will live on making the subject immortal. Even as the natural aging process takes visual control of the body the mind supersedes and lives on. This is a very humanist perspective to be able to have a mindset strong enough to conquer life and death and also empower others to do the same just by spreading the knowledge of the complex.