Shakespeare often uses love as a major theme in his writing. Sometimes this love is corrupt or untrue while, at other times, this love is pure and good. In Sonnets 18, 116, and 130 Shakespeare uses a pure and good love as a major theme. In the case of these three sonnets, he uses nature as a way to express love. The speaker in these sonnets does, however, eventually conclude that nature does not hold a match to the love that is being spoken about. Sonnet 16 uses the metaphor of "a summer's day" to compare love with. Sonnet 116 uses the night sky to define love, while sonnet 130 uses many splendids of nature to compare love. While some of these sonnets may use nature more than another, Shakespeare still recognizes the value of nature on culture and what it can mean when used in comparison to something as wonderful as love.
Shakespeare uses nature as a power, illustrating how its beauty or ugliness can also be the beauty or ugliness of love. In Sonnet 18, the speaker is comparing his love to a summer's day. On the surface, the poem is simply a statement of praise about the beauty of the beloved; summer tends to unpleasant extremes of windiness and heat, but the beloved is always mild and "more temperate." Summer is personified as the "eye of heaven" with its "gold complexion." The love that is spoken about is compared to everlasting nature. By doing this, the speaker is, at the same time, trying to preserve the beauty of his love. Shakespeare writes, "By chance or nature's changing course untrimm"d;/ But thy eternal summer shall not fade." Shakespeare uses the speaker to tell of his love that will not perish because he has preserved her in the poem. "So long lives this, and this gives life to thee." .
As much as Sonnet 18 attempts to give life to love through nature, Sonnet 116 is an attempt to define love by telling of both what it is and what it is not. While Shakespeare uses nature in this sonnet quite sparingly, its impact on the entire poem is much the same had he used it in more abundance.