Shakespeare Sonnet 116 Summary

The following sample essay on Shakespeare Sonnet 116 Summary discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.

Introduction ‘How does shakespeare perceive true love in sonnet 116 and sonnet 130? ’. The sonnets that are focused is ‘Sonnet 116 – Let me not to the marriage of true minds’ and ‘Sonnet 130 – My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun’. First I would like to quickly review what the definition of a sonnet is.

Two kinds of sonnets have been most common in English poetry, and sonnets were named after the two famous poets. The Petrarchan sonnet and the Shakespearean sonnet. Since my presentation is focused on specific Shakespearean sonnets, I will only go in detail for Shakespearean sonnets.

A common sonnet is made up by 14 line lyric poem, traditionally written in iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter is when in lines 10 syllables long, an emphasis is put on every second syllable, for example ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? ’ In addition, the sonnets take a usual rhyming scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG.

Sonnets are divided into 4 parts, The first three parts are four lines long and are known as quatrains; the fourth part is called the couplet and is two lines.

Shakespeare’s sonnets are often used to develop a sequence of metaphors or ideas, one in each quatrain, while the couplet offers either a summary or a new take on the preceding images or ideas. I will now move on to discuss Sonnet 116.

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This is one of Shakespeare’s most famous poems in his collection of work. Essentially, this sonnet presents Shakespeare’s loyalty towards true love. His beliefs regarding true love remains to be pure and innocent, without physical and artificial bias.

William Shakespeare True Love Poem

The sonnet has a relatively simple content, with each quatrain attempting to describe what love is (or is not) and the final couplet reaffirming the poet’s words by placing his own reputation on the line. This sonnet is worthy for its lack of imagery, we could speculate that it is evident in the lines itself in what he is trying convey, that he truly believes love is unmovable. The opening lines of the sonnet encourage the reader to dive into its theme at a rapid pace, accomplishing in part by the use of enjambment “Let me not o the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments” This first quatrain asserts that true love is immortal and unchanging: It neither changes on its own nor allows itself to be changed, even when it encounters changes in the loved one. Quatrain two includes a series of nautical metaphors to further establish the permanence of true love: in line 5 it is an “ever-fixed mark,” which is a sea mark that navigators could use to guide their ships. In line 7, shakespeare refers the ‘star’ as the Northern Star perhaps, which was a constant point of reference that sailors could always rely on for navigation.

Both of these metaphors emphasize the constancy and dependability of true love. Finally, quatrain three highlights that only something’s that are great or a final destructive of apocalyptic proportions could spell love’s doom, this being the sonnets theme, with love’s undying essence prevailing against the “bending sickle” of Time. Time’s “hours and weeks” are “brief” compared to love’s longevity. Moreover, there is a reference back to the nautical imagery with the use of the word “compass” in line 10. Love knows that time its going to take its toll and is going to affect one’s physical appearance and condition i. we are going to age. It reminds today, in Christian marriage vows, it is presumed that the couple are marrying for true love and ‘till death do us apart’ In the same way, love should not die ‘to the edge of doom’ Sonnet 116 closes with a rather profound ending. Shakespeare writes that if what he has claimed in the sonnet is proven untrue, then he “never writ, nor no man ever loved. ” Here, it is seen Shakespeare is so determined that what he wrote in the sonnet is correct, that he is willing to put his reputation on the line. In contrast, Sonnet 130 is an unusual poem, due to its distinctly humorous tone.

Since its one of Shakespeare’s later sonnets, it can initially be presumed to have been written for the dark lady; However, it is not clear. Shakespeare message in this sonnet is at first misleading because we are being presented with negative comparisons which are ultimately flattering, this is what makes this sonnet humorous. Let me explain, this sonnet is generally considered a humorous parody of the typical love sonnet with Shakespeare describing the contrasting features of his mistress, for example ‘her eyes are nothing like the son’, ‘Her lips are not red’ ‘Her breasts are not snow white’

In the next quatrain, Shakespeare extends his images of what his mistress isn’t, to talk about her foul breath which ‘reeks’. He builds up the momentum by moving on to say her voice does not sound pleasing nor does she walk like a ‘goddess’ These both show that he is stating his mistress is nothing better than ordinary externally or even worse than normal. Through the different lines he uses imagery related to the senses. In the first 6 lines, he uses visual imagery, you can see her ‘eyes’ and see her ‘lips’. In the next two lines, lines 7-8, he moves to olfactory imagery i. to do with the sense of smell. In lines 9-10, the next sense being used is the auditory, you can hear ‘her speaking’ and ‘her music’. The final sense is to do with kinesthetic (movement) ‘how the goddess go’ and ‘when she walks’. Also, in the first quatrain each line is a complete image ‘eyes are nothing like the sun’. Then on, it is spread along two lines He describes that she is not as beautiful as things found in nature “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lip’s red. Yet Shakespeare expresses his love for this woman, nonetheless, and in the closing couplet says that in fact she is j]an extraordinary (“rare”) woman, and that is why he loves her. He is trying to ultimately say that even though his mistress doesn’t conform to a list of model-like qualities, he still loves her, which is also a recurring point in his sonnet 116, where he says that true love should not be based upon or affected by the person’s external appearance. Thus, he is saying this is infact true love.

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Shakespeare Sonnet 116 Summary. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Shakespeare Sonnet 116 Summary
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