Shakespeare’s Love Letter

Happy post- post-Valentine’s day! For today, I will continue the series on the philosophy of love. One of the many things that we think of when we hear about love and Valentines is love letters. Nowadays, love letters are not that common. What a modern person usually does today is send a love tweet and that kind of sort. Um, seriously? Where is the love there? All I see is some boring c–p. Unfortunately  it seems as if love letters are becoming endangered.

I don’t know why this is happening; I mean, when one reads a love letter, one gets a sense of love just looking at the handwriting and smelling the aroma of a letter. When one writes a love letter, one usually has to put some thought into the writing and effort into the decorating. And it just seems so emotional and beautiful. I even remember a teacher who actually spend a whole class time just talking about how it felt like to receive a love letter.

Perhaps one of the most beautiful love letters I have seen is from Shakespeare. Well, it’s not exactly a love letter, but it would definitely look wonderful as a love letter. If I was a girl receiving this letter, you bet that I would go galloping straight towards Shakespeare and ask him to marry me. Check out his love sonnet below:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

If you do not understand what is being said, then let me explain it to you. The first line obviously indicates that Shakespeare will be comparing his love to a summer’s day. However, as we all know, sometimes summers can be not that much of a good day. Sometimes, the summer can get really hot; however, in line two, Shakespeare says that his love is “more temperate” than summer. In other words, his love will always be just right. From lines 3 to 8, Shakespeare lists out the bad things about summer; he does this so as to contrast this against the superior qualities of his love later on. For instance, in line 4, summer “has all too short a date,” or in other words, the summer sometimes feels too short. This contrasts against line 9, in which the love’s “eternal summer shall not fade.”

But perhaps the most beautiful part about this sonnet are the last three lines. In line 12, what do you think “lines” mean? At first, I thought it was referring to the wrinkles on one’s face when one grows old. However, after a bit more analyzing, I realized that the lines actually refer to these actual lines of this sonnet. So basically, line 12 means that as his love grows among these lines, and in line 13- and as long as men are able to live and read this sonnet, line 14- this love that exists between Shakespeare and his lover will always live. In other words, Shakespeare’s love is embedded into this sonnet, and whoever reads this sonnet will always know of this love.

This perhaps ties into the view of love that love is eternal. Shakespeare must have believed it; what he wrote in the last three lines was basically saying that even after he died, his love will still exist. Love can never be broken, even after death. Christians also believe this, for they believe “love is God,” and if God is eternal, then so is love. And even if I wasn’t a Christian, I would still believe this, too. Love is a powerful force that will always exist. No matter how many tribulations, love will always exist, whether it is love for a child, a friend, a teacher, or a parent. My grandmother died, but I still love her to this very day.

Of course, Shakespeare didn’t just believe love was eternal. He also had much more other opinions, which will lead us into the next post.


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