Sonnet 116 was written by William Shakespeare and published in 1609. William Shakespeare was an English writer and poet, and has written a lot of famous plays, amongst them Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare lived in the Elizabethan era. At that time, the literature and art was in bloom, and his works are clearly characterized by that era both as language and theme goes.
A sonnet is a poem consisting of 14 lines, three quatrains and a couplet, in which the beat follows the iambic pentameter. Sonnet 116 is, like the most of Shakespeare’s sonnets, about love. In this sonnet, Shakespeare tries to define love by using comparisons, metaphors and personification. The theme of the sonnet is definitely “true love” because of all his attempts to define it by describing what true love means, and why it is so important to human beings.
The first quatrain is sort of the “introduction” of the sonnet, while the two next quatrains are the body of the sonnet, where he elaborates the two first lines. The couplet in the end is the conclusion, and is used to sum up and close the sonnet. In Shakespeare’s sonnets, the last two lines are often about Shakespeare himself in some way. Either by sharing his own opinion on the topic he is writing about, or to praise himself as an artist. In the first one and a half line, he says “let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments”. That means, that he won’t declare any reasons to why two people with true love towards each other shouldn’t get married. He continues with: “love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove”, which can mean that love is not love if it changes or fades away when a better opportunity comes up. He elaborates this in the next quatrain, where he uses a metaphor and compares love to an ever-fixed mark, leading the ships like the North Star. The ships are meant to be the human beings lost in the search for life’s true meaning. The last line of the quatrain says: “whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken”, which is a clear comparison to love, and how it is measurable, but still more valuable than words can ever explain.
This metaphor makes the message more clear, because you can imagine this star guiding the lost sailors in the middle of the ocean and you understand the meaning of the words in an other way than if he had just written: “love is priceless”. In the third quatrain, he begins with: “Love is not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle’s compass come.” First of all, “Love is not time’s fool” is a personification, because “time” is given a human quality by being a fool. The whole sentence means, that time is meaningless to love and that love doesn’t care about aging or death. The next two lines: “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom.” Empathizes the fact that love is a constant concept and goes beyond death. This last quatrain is really powerful and to say that not even death can stop love makes it even stronger. This is actually the whole message in the sonnet, that true love is so strong, not even death can defeat it. With the couplet in the end, he turns the focus on himself by saying: “ If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.” He kind of says, that if what he has just written is proved wrong, no one has ever loved, and he isn’t a poet. He probably means that he is so certain about this never-ending true love, that he would swear on his most precious ability, namely his skills as a writer. In some way, you can say that he ends up praising himself a little bit in this sonnet too. The same thing happens in the couplet of sonnet 18 “shall I compare thee..” where he ends up proclaiming that his poems makes people immortal. Another thing that sonnet 18 and sonnet 116 has in common is their many comparisons. Although the comparisons in sonnet 18 are a little more obvious in sonnet 116, it is still kind of the same concept, comparing love and beauty to nature. And of course, the theme of love is consistent through so many of his sonnets. The difference between these two sonnets is mostly the fact that sonnet 18 is written to a specific person (at least, we assume that), while the receiver of sonnet 116 can be anyone who is curious to know the definition of true love.
The “love” issue takes up a lot of space in both Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays, and I think that it is the reason that his works never go out of fashion. It is simply a timeless theme, interesting no matter what race, age or gender you are. His works are known around the world, and can be
interpreted so it fits every mind everywhere in the world. With this sonnet, Shakespeare has defined love for the entire human race.
Essay about Copmaring Shakespeare's Sonnets 116 and 147
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Copmaring Shakespeare's Sonnets 116 and 147
Light/Dark. Comfort/Despair. Love/Hate. These three pairs of words manage to sum up William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 116" and "Sonnet 147," while also demonstrating the duality of Shakespeare's heart. "Sonnet 116" reveals to a careful reader the aspects of Shakespeare's concept of what ideal love is. However, "Sonnet 147" shows the danger of believing in this ideal form of love. These two sonnets perfectly complement and clarify each other while also giving the reader insight into William Shakespeare's life. To understand these two sonnets completely, one must first have a little background information concerning the sequence of the Sonnets and William Shakespeare's life.…show more content…
Each poem reflects the emotions that Shakespeare experiences with the duality of his love. Although each of these poems only show one half of this duality, "Sonnet 144" expresses both while giving a further basis for the understanding of "Sonnet 116" and "Sonnet 147." "Sonnet 144" opens with the line "Two loves I have of comfort and despair," (1). When used as a foundation, this opening line reveals that the reader can expect one of the two sonnets to deal with the comfort of love while the other deals with the despair of love. Shakespeare goes on to say, "The better angel is a man right fair, / The worser spirit a woman, colored ill." (144.3-4) which shows that he considers his young friend to be the comfort aspect of love and his dark woman to be the despair aspect of love. Shakespeare goes on to say that the dark woman tempted his young friend from his side. This shows that an affair has occurred between the young man and the dark woman. Taking this poem as a basis, the reader can better understand how "Sonnet 116" deals with the comfort of love and how "Sonnet 147" deals with the despair of love. "Sonnet 116" can be viewed by the reader in two different ways. It can be seen as a soliloquy by the author written to his young friend about their friendship or it can be seen as a letter written to the young friend about Shakespeare's view of what ideal love is. In either case, it was written after the affair between