Shakespeare Sonnet 116

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William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 found on page 1182 of The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume1B: The Sixteenth Century, The Early Seventeenth Centry, 2nd edition(New York: W.W. Nortion, 2000) is one of his most famous sonnets to conquer the subject of love. While there is much debate concerning the tone of this sonnet, Shakespeare’s words speak of transcendent love not very commonly considered in popular poetry at the time. He used the Petrarchan sonnet style in Old English popular around the time but certainly added a new twist of his own genius. In theme Shakespeare had unique perceptions and experiences in his portrayal of love. The introduction of a young boy as the object of his affections and subject of sonnets 1-126 was perhaps not a common subject for other poets. Sonnet 116 falls into the section of sonnets of the boy, yet it does not quite fit the mold of the rest of his sonnets. In the sequence the surrounding, the sonnets highlight loves’ more deceptive qualities such as unfaithfulness and betrayal. The fallibility and physical matters pertaining to love are no longer considered in Sonnet 116, and a truer sort of transcendent and unconditional love emerges. Unlike the popularized Petrarchan form of an octet followed by a sestet, Shakespeare’s 14 line sonnets are divided into three Sicilian quatrains and a couplet. The quatrains develop the metaphor and a couplet at the end that becomes a commentary. The masculine rhyme scheme follows the pattern ababcdcdefefgg and the meter is in the traditional iambic pentameter (10 syllables per line). The ideas flow and create a sense of urgency in this piece as phrasing does no clearly begin and end with each line. The idea in first line that flows right into the next and there is a fluttering of accents. This creates a rapid delivery of words carried by the iambic feet. There is repetition in the alliteration with words such as “alters” and “alteration” or “remover” and “remove”. This also...
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