Analysis of Sonnet 116

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Analysis of Sonnet 116Shakespeare deeply explores expression of love in his Sonnet 116, beginning with a strong statement that explains what love is not, rather than what love is. The line, Love is not love which alters when alteration finds means that, if the love is true, then no matter what happens between the two lovers, that love will remain strong. The first quatrain makes a simple statement of what love is not, which put simply is that if your love for another person is true, then it shall endure all obstacles. The second quartet begins with a statement of what love is, and the strength of true love. Shakespeare writes, It is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken which means, by an ever-fixed mark that it is almost like a mark on someone that can never be moved, like the second youre stricken with love it remains eternal. When he writes looks on tempests and is never shaken, he means that love can endure storms with no repercussions, and never doubts itself when the storm is passed. In that same quartet, Shakespeare plays on the Elizabethan trend of navigation when he says, It is the star to every wondering bark, bark being an old word for boat, as many merchants and empires were expanding into the Western hemisphere at this time in history. The last line of the quartet says whose worths unknown, although his height be taken. This means that love cannot be measured, but only in its strength and importance to you and your lover rather than to other people. This can mean that, while your love may seem unconventional to others, it may make perfect sense to you and your partner. The quartet, in contrast to its predecessor, makes a statement of what love is, and its meaning to your relationship. The final quartet tells the reader that love is eternal, and never ends even past the end of all things. The opening line, Loves not Times fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickles compass come starts with personification of Time, which during the period of Elizabethan England was frequently painted as a robed skeletal figure bearing a sheath, a modern day representation of Death. The line says that looks may come under the effect of Time on the body, and that physical attraction can wane under the effects of time, but the next line in the quartet, Love alters not within his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom says that Love is more

powerful than Time, and by extension, Death, as it alters not as time passes, but remains in place forever, even past the point of the end of all things. The final couplet finishes with a tongue-in-cheek statement, saying that if he is wrong, then love man ever loved, which is of course absurd, and makes the point that he being wrong on this matter is absurd. Jake Scott 11WHAB