William shakespeare’s sonnet 116

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    06-Dec-2014

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An analysis of Shakespeare's: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds"

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  • 1. William ShakespearesSonnet 116Let me not to the marriage of true minds

2. Full text1.Let me not to the marriage of true minds2.Admit impediments. Love is not love3.Which alters when it alteration finds,4.Or bends with the remover to remove:5.O no! it is an ever-fixed mark6.That looks on tempests and is never shaken;7.It is the star to every wandering bark,8.Whose worths unknown, although his height be taken.9.Loves not Times fool, though rosy lips and cheeks10. Within his bending sickles compass come:11. Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,12. But bears it out even to the edge of doom.13. If this be error and upon me proved,14. I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 3. What is a sonnet? A poem of 14 lines. There are two types: The Italian/Petrarchan sonnet:A sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme scheme abba abba, followed by a sestet with the rhyme scheme: cdecde or cdcdcd Shakespearean/Elizabethan sonnet:A sonnet consisting of three quatrains (four lineseach) and a rhyming couplet with the rhymescheme: abab cdcd efef gg 4. Line 1 - 2Let me not to the marriage of true mindsAdmit impediments. The speaker says he would not like to preventthe marriage of people whos minds are trueto each other. Links to the traditional church ceremony whenthe congregation is asked if they know of anyreason why the couple should not be joined. 5. Line 2 - 4Love is not loveWhich alters when it alteration finds,Or bends with the remover to remove: If a persons love changes whenever there is theslightest chance or is so easily removed thenthat is not true love. Love should not be affected by outside forcessuch as alteration or removers 6. Exclamation markindicates a strong reaction. Line 5 - 6O no! it is an ever-fixed markThat looks on tempests and is never shaken; The poet now describes the qualities of loveas being a permanent emotion. The speaker uses the metaphor of love being a ever-fixed mark which can face tempests (storms) and remain unmoved. 7. Line 7 - 8It is the star to every wandering bark,Whose worths unknown, although his height be taken. Line 7 makes reference to sailing. Early sailors used stars tonavigate the ocean. the star = The North Star wandering bark = lost ship Although a ships height and other dimensions can bemeasured to calculate its worth the reality cannot beknown till it is on the water. Just like love it is a constant in the world, but the extent oflove between two people can never be measured. 8. Time givenimportance by thecapital letter. Line 9 - 10Loves not Times fool, though rosy lips and cheeksWithin his bending sickles compass come: Love is not affected by time even though thephysical features of beauty rosy lips and cheeksare all destroyed by time. his bending sickle introduces theideaof death and personifiesdeath as a man 9. Line 11 - 12Refers to Time againLove alters not with his brief hours and weeks,But bears it out even to the edge of doom. Love does not change over time it standsfirm for all eternity. Hours and weeks seem like a lot of time as we goabout our daily lives but in the context of Time it is brief (short). 10. Line 13 14: The rhyming coupletIf this be error and upon me proved,I never writ, nor no man ever loved.The speaker (Shakespeare himself) says that if he is wrong about love then nothing he has written is real and nobody has ever been truly in love.Seeing as both the above are obviously untrue, then Shakespeare is proved correct about love. 11. Summary: Sonnet 116 is about love in its most ideal form. Itpraises lovers who have come to each otherfreely, and enter into a relationship based ontrust and understanding. The first four lines reveal the poets pleasure inlove that is constant and strong, and will not"alter when it alteration finds." The following lines proclaim that true love isindeed an "ever-fixd mark" which will survive anycrisis. In lines 7-8, the poet claims that we may be ableto measure love to some degree, but this doesnot mean we fully understand it. 12. Loves actual worth cannot be known it remainsa mystery. The remaining lines of the third quatrain (9-12), confirms the perfect nature of love that isunaffected throughout time and remains so "evnto the edge of doom", or death. In the final couplet, the poet declares that, if he ismistaken about the constant, unmovable natureof perfect love, then he must take back all hiswritings on love, truth, and faith. Moreover, he adds that, if he has in fact judgedlove inappropriately, no man has ever reallyloved, in the ideal sense that the poet professes.