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Sonnet 116 - Write a critical appreciation of this Shakespearian sonnet, in which you comment on the poet's use of the sonnet form, his language use, the meaning that is produced and the value you attach to the poem.

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i)Write a critical appreciation of this Shakespearian sonnet, in which you comment on the poet's use of the sonnet form, his language use, the meaning that is produced and the value you attach to the poem. Sonnet 116 is about love in its most ideal form. It praises the glories of lovers who have come to each other freely, and enter into a relationship based on honesty and understanding. It clearly identifies the nature of love, or the whole concept of love according to Shakespeare. As most of Shakespeare's sonnets, Sonnet 116 is divided into three quatrains and adding to that, a rhyming couplet. Each rhyme is only heard once, which enlarges the range of rhyme sounds and words the poet can use, and also allows Shakespeare to combine the sonnet lines in a more complex way. The last couplet of the sonnet summarizes and characterizes the three quatrains altogether. The poet very brilliantly categorizes the different aspects of love by using this particular structure. In the first four lines the poem tells what love is not, and then goes onto what love truly means in the second quatrain. In the last quatrain the poet talks about the affects of Love connected to Time. ...read more.


The second quatrain is very effective, as it's metaphorical. The poet wisely uses this metaphorical way of writing, so the reader clearly gets and understanding about the definitions of Love. As stated above, Love ' is an ever-fixed mark'; it is fixed forever, 'that looks on the tempest and is never shaken'. It will 'look' at the storm, but the storm can't undermine it. It's as solid as a rock, because it will never be 'shaken'. Shakespeare uses a very powerful word: 'never', which makes him sound even more convincing; he is so determined about what Love is. 'It is the star', which is also the 'ever fixed-mark', 'to every wand' ring bark.' He compares Love to a star; it is bright and vibrant. The darker the night, the brighter the star, therefore, he is implying that when everything is going wrong, Love is there. He also compares the bark to the person/people in love; the star never changes, even though it can't be seen by daylight; but when it is dark, it will guide you (the ship). The poet makes it clear to us that Love is a constant guide to us as we sail through life (the sea), but we can't really see its true value, even if we can quantify Love somehow. ...read more.


This last couplet is designed to shut down all forms of opposition, and to secure all the things Shakespeare has said. It is truly a remarkable sonnet. Because I get the impression that Shakespeare is so confident, it leaves a great statement on me, the reader. I am compelled by his ways of describing love, because he is using the language and images to construct the point to be made accurately; the images grow progressively sharper and more evolved as his concept of love grows somewhat clearer. Although in my opinion, it would seem that like all lovers, Shakespeare himself is left to point out effects or characteristics, without being able to literally say this or that is love. His language is very powerful throughout the poem: he uses words such as not (to indicate what Love NOT is) and never. This makes the sonnet very dramatic and powerful. He does use a lot of negative words (O no, not, never) almost making it seem as though he might not be that confident after all, but he does bring up beautiful statements about Love, which in return, brings that confidence up again. The poet puts forth an ideal of Love, which is rock-steady, as constant as the stars and even outlasts time. Zinzi de Brouwer Garde 12G Maputo International School ...read more.

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