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Sonnet 116

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Sonnet 116. Mainly a philosophical reflection on the nature of true love. A supremely confident tone. May refer to married love Or a faithful loving friendship Or both?. 1 - 4. I would not admit that anything could interfere with the union of two people who truly love each other.

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sonnet 116
Sonnet 116
  • Mainly a philosophical reflection on the nature of true love.
  • A supremely confident tone.
  • May refer to married love
  • Or a faithful loving friendship
  • Or both?
slide2
1 - 4
  • I would not admit that anything could interfere with the union of two people who truly love each other.
  • Love that alters with changing circumstances is not love,
  • Nor if it bends from its firm state when someone tries to destroy it.

5 - 8

  • Oh no, it’s an eternally fixed point that watches storms but is never itself shaken by them.
  • It is the star by which every lost ship can be guided:
  • one can calculate it’s distance but never know its worth.
slide3
9 - 12
  • Love doesn’t depend on Time, although the rosy lips and cheeks of youth eventually come within the compass of Time’s sickle.
  • Love doesn’t alter as the days and weeks go by but endures until death.
  • If this is all a mistake and I can be proved wrong
  • then I’ve never written anything and no man has ever loved.

13 - 14

points to note
Points to note
  • Opening line refers to the words of an anglican marriage service
  • A series of negative definitions stating what love is not 1 – 4
  • A powerful exclamation in line 5 – “Oh no!” followed by a series of positive metaphors defining love.
  • A range of powerful statements…it is “ever fixed…never shaken…the star to every wandering bark” (lost ship).
  • Note the maritime imagery. The star guides, gives direction, assures safety. This is what true love does!
  • The sestet returns to negative definitions; love is not subject to time - although youth and beauty may be (note the personification of time as the reaper once more). Love endures (the ravages of time) till death itsel!
  • The speaker ends with a remarkable statement. If I’m wrong about all this then I’ve never written anything and no has ever loved anyone else!
  • Obviously he has written and obviously people have loved each other…therefore his point is ‘self proving’ so to speak. So, an enormously confident ending.
mechanics etc
Mechanics etc…
  • Alliteration “me…marriage…minds”
  • “love…love”
  • “remover…remove”
  • “compass come”
  • Assonance “Admit impediments…is / …it…love….love”
  • “alters…alteration”
  • “remover…remove”
  • “star…bark”
  • “unknown…although”
  • Personification of time as the reaper.
  • Use of the “tempests” as a metaphor for the storms of life.
  • Use of “the star” as a metaphor for direction, surity, safety…love halps you navigate safely through the sometimes stormy waters of life.