Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Kate's Analysis of Sonnet 116

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Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
     If this be error and upon me proved,
     I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

During my reading of Sonnet 116, I uncovered a very simple truth to this sonnet. I learned it is really, just a simple love poem. Throughout the poem, Shakespeare uses MANY of his "usual" devices found in his sonnets. I'm thinking referencing the passing of time, and using weather (tempest) and references to women's body parts (lips and cheeks)

Basically, this is a poem about eternal love. So, he needs to show that no matter what happens-whether it be a tempest or just time passing- he will continue to love this woman. I really like the phrase, "Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks". I think that is his own little summary of his poem, just in one line. Love will not change. It can be eternal IF it truly is love.

Now, this is NOT some revolutionary idea. However, Shakespeare does use interesting phrases and word choices so that it's not a total bore to read. I like how he uses the term "ever-fixed mark" to describe this love, and I feel that as one uses interesting word choices, it makes the story more interesting. So, Shakespeare successfully took an old thought and made it new with his descriptions! Awesome!

I compared it to 18 and 31, as they are both about this unyielding love. Basically, sonnets are often written on love, but both of these have the focus of ETERNAL love. Sonnet 18, the always popular one, uses some references to the passing of time, this time using the always popular season changes. It also has references to the women's body parts. He says so long as anyone can live, they'll be together. And, sonnet 130 has the obvious usage of using the women's body. This one though, shows that love, this love, is eternal because it's NOT based on things that can simply just go away. It will stay, because it's not superficial. 

1 comment:

  1. Solid analysis. I like how you observed that Shakespeare took an old thought and made it seem fresh and exciting by his expert word choice. I think that is largely what makes excellent writers so great- they don't necessarily produce new ideas, but rather re-illuminate past truths.