Poetry analysis sonnet 116
Theme/s: ideal love; faithfulness
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This poem is part of Shakespeare's famous collection of poems (a sonnet sequence), consisting of 154 poems. They are about topics such as love and time. The structure of the poems has become the popular format for the sonnet, also called the Shakespearean sonnet.
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Structure of Poem:
It has 14 lines divided into three stanzas of four lines each and a final couplet. This poem follows the conventional structure and includes the usual 'turn' at the end - a pair of lines (or couplet) that either shifts the mood or meaning of the poem, or asserts some sort of revelation. This sonnet, like all of the other sonnets, and like Shakespeare’s plays, is written in iambic pentameter.
The rhyme scheme can be described as a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g. This predictability and use of a regular pattern is frequently found in older poetry as writers tended to stick to the restrictions of a set format.
Sonnet 116 is about love in its most ideal form. The poet praises the glories of lovers who have come to each other freely, and enter into a relationship based on trust and understanding. The first four lines reveal the poet's pleasure in love that is constant and strong, and will not "alter when it alteration finds." The following lines proclaim that true love is indeed an "ever-fix'd mark" which will survive any crisis. In lines 7-8, the poet claims that we may be able to measure love to some degree, but this does not mean we fully understand it. Love's actual worth cannot be known – it remains a mystery. The remaining lines of the third quatrain (9-12), reaffirm the perfect nature of love that is unshakeable throughout time and remains so "ev'n to the edge of doom", or death.
In the final couplet,