Describing the Techniques Used by William Shakespeare in the 'Sonnet 116'

Topics: Love, Poetic form, Vowel Pages: 2 (774 words) Published: November 4, 2008
The writer aims to describe to the reader the nature of love through what love is not, and uses techniques such as repetition and allusions. In the opening lines of the sonnet, the persona bids the reader to “Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments.” It is inevitable that we make a connection to the Episcopal Book, where it is stated, “…if either of you do know any impediment why you may not be lawfully joined together in marriage, that ye confess it.” While it is important to recognize the significance of this allusion, in this sonnet the persona is using this reference mainly to emphasize the spiritual union of two people through their common factor, love.

The phrase "or bends with the remover to remove" implies, however, that true love continues even when it is not shared, when it is no longer a "common factor." True love, that is, is both unconditional and eternal. The first line acts as an introduction for the poem and is followed by the main content of the sonnet. Shakespeare uses enjambment in the second line to create a sense of acceleration and move the reader away from the opening and into the depths of the poem. The persona goes on to say that true love will endure all obstacles, as is evident in the line, “or alters when it alteration finds,” where the use of repetition of “alter” connotes an instability of superficial love, which changes when faced with change. In the first quatrain, the persona aims to define love through what it is not, while in the next quatrain he defines love based on what it is: eternal and unconditional commitment. The persona uses metaphorical comparison, personification and epithet very effectively in demonstrating the guiding, stable, determined nature of love. Shakespeare describes love as an “ever-fixed mark,/ that looks on tempest, and is never shaken;” The use of the epithet “ever-fixed” for mark creates an image of a solid wall of courage and determination in the face of a menacing ocean storm....
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