Sonnet 116 Shakespeare

Topics: LovePoetry

This essay sample on Sonnet 116 Shakespeare provides all necessary basic information on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.

Love is a common theme in many poems written by 17th century authors. Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116 and Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” both speak of the highest form of love; eternal true love. Their use of figurative language and rhythm schemes helps to convey to the reader that such a love exists.

However, while both believe and speak passionately about true love, only the speaker in Donne’s poem has experienced it, and therefore offers the reader hope for true and pure love. A summarization of both poems should help the reader understand this important difference.

In laying forth their arguments for the existence of eternal true love, the authors share two main similarities; the structure of their poems and its message. The rhyme scheme in Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116” consists of the use of several end-rhymes and eye-rhymes in alternating lines.

In lines 1, 3 and 5, 7 we find examples of end-rhymes “minds” “finds”, and “mark” “bark”. In lines 2, 4 and 13, 14 we find the use of eye-rhymes “love” “remove” and “proved” “loved’. Donne also utilizes end-rhymes and eye-rhymes in alternating lines throughout his poem.

Lines 1 and 3 “away” and say”, and in lines 6 and 8 “move” and “love”. The use of these devices helps to establish the flow of the poem. We find in both poems several examples of alliteration and assonance. In “Sonnet 116” the speaker uses alliteration when saying “Let me not to the marriage of true minds.

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” In line 7 the speaker uses assonance and says “It is the star to every wandering bark”. Likewise in “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” the speaker uses both alliteration and assonances to establish the desired sound of the poem.

Words That Rhyme With Union

In line 26 the speaker uses alliteration when saying “As stiff twin compasses are two”, and assonance in the last line of the poem, “And makes me end where I begun. ” In “Sonnet 116”, the structure of the poem contains various figures of speech which help to establish the desired imagery. In line 5 the speaker says, “It is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken”, and in line 7 “It is the star to every wandering bark. ” The speaker is saying that no barrier nor obstacle can deny nor weaken true love. True love will outlast anything in its path.

The use of metaphors allows the speaker to speak about feelings and experiences which there are no easy words to describe. As in “Sonnet 116”, the speaker in “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” also uses metaphors by comparing his love for his lover to a circle a compass makes, confirming that circles never end, so their love also never ends, “Thy firmness makes my circle just, / And makes me end where I begun. ” This gives the reader hope and confirms that no matter how great the time and distance between, true love will survive. To further develop their desired imagery, both poems utilize implied metaphors.

In “Sonnet 116” the speaker says, “Love’s not times fool, though rosy lips an cheeks within his bending sickles compass come” and “bears it out even to the edge of doom. ” He is saying that true love is beyond physical beauty, and time and aging can not dissolve it, true love lives unaffected for eternity. The speaker in “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” furthers this point by describing gold being beaten and hammered until it is fragile and thin, but still has the same value it did before it was stretched, “Like gold to aery thinness beat. The figure of speech in both sonnets is what creates the imagery and mood of the sonnets.

Without these figures of speech we would not appreciate the image the sonnets are trying to portray. Unlike in “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” “Sonnet 116” utilizes repetition, to where we get a consistent sound. For example the same words are written over and over again like “love is love”, “alters when it alteration finds”, and “remover to remove”. This gives us a steady tone throughout the sonnet. The mood all the way through the sonnet is consistent. It starts as a passionate sonnet and continues to be to the end.

Where as in “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” there is a greater range of emotions. The poem starts out on a depressing tone, a comparison between the separations of the soul from a dieing man with the separation of two lovers. We find faith and reinsurance that their love is strong and will survive, they will still be close, even though they are not next to each other- their love will stretch across the miles, and it will not lose value. The poem now has a loving and passionate tone to it. It ends with the image of a circle, the symbol of perfection, representing the union of souls in a love relationship.

This perfection is accomplished by parting at the beginning of the circle and reuniting at the point where the curves reconnect. “Thy firmness makes my circle just, and makes me end where I begun. ” As we have seen both poems establish common ground on the nature of true love. They tell us though the use of figurative language what true love is; a love that’s beyond the physical, a timeless union that will always stay constant in the heart of even a lost soul. They also tell the reader what isn’t; it does not “admit impediments”, it is not susceptible to time and knows no distance.

However, while both speak passionately about true love, what differentiates the two is the fact that the speaker in Donne’s poem has experienced true love. For him it is not merely an idea, nor a theory. He believes in it because he possesses it, which may explain the varying emotions brought out by the poem. The speaker in Shakespeare’s poem lacks this experience; he has never been exposed to the union of “true minds” and therefore speaks only about what he believes to be true and not what knows to be true. Donne offers hope for true and pure love; as someone who has found a life partner who shares his values.

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

Sonnet 116 Shakespeare
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