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Sonnet 116 Poem Essay Sample

Sonnet 116 is an attempt by Shakespeare to persuade the reader of the indestructible qualities of true love, which never changes, and is immeasurable.

But what sort of love are we talking about? Romantic love most probably, although this sonnet could be applied to Eros, Philos or Agape - erotic love, platonic love or universal love.

Shakespeare uses the imperative Let me not to begin his persuasive tactics and he continues by using negation with that little word not appearing four times. It's as if he's uncertain about this concept of love and needs to state what it is NOT to make valid his point.

So love does not alter or change if circumstances around it change. If physical, mental or spiritual change does come, love remains the same, steadfast and true.

If life is a journey, if we're all at sea, if our boat gets rocked in a violent storm we can't control, love is there to direct us, like a lighthouse with a fixed beam, guiding us safely home. Or metaphorically speaking love is a fixed star that can direct us should we go astray.

And, unlike beauty, love is not bound to time, it isn't a victim or subject to the effects of time. Love transcends the hours, the weeks, any measurement, and will defy it right to the end, until Judgement Day.

Lines nine and ten are special for the arrangement of hard and soft consonants, illiteration and enjambment:

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love is not harvested by time's sharp edge, it endures. Love conquers all, as Virgil said in his Eclogue. And if the reader has no faith in the writer's argument, then what use the words, and what good is the human experience of being in love?

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