In typical English sonnet fashion, William Shakespeare deals with issues of love throughout “Sonnet 116.” He discusses both what love is and what it is not throughout the three quatrains, only to prove his argument in the heroic couplet. Shakespeare employs shifts in rhythm and various images in order to express the idea that true love does not change based on circumstance or time but remains ever pure and strong.
Using shifts in the iambic meter, especially in the first quatrain, Shakespeare punctuates his main idea. He wants to show that “Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds” (2-3), and that it doesn’t bend “with the remover to remove” (4).
To highlight this sentiment, Shakespeare employs shifts in the meter. In the first line he begins with the iambic “Let me” but then follows that with a trochaic foot emphasizing “not”: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds.” The second line begins with three iambic feet and then a strong caesura setting up the last four syllables: “Admit in pediments. Love is not love.” In those last two feet Shakespeare stresses “love” twice, and he does it symmetrically with the stresses coming at the beginning and the end of the phrase. The end result, the first quatrain emphasizes what love is not, and the rhythmic departs from the iambic pattern help to subtly ingrain the point in the readers head but also in his ear.
Sonnet 18 & 130: Comparing and Contrasting Sonnet 18 and Sonnet 130, by William Shakespeare, are two of the most well known sonnets he wrote. Both are some-what similar in theme, however, the two poems are very much contradictory in style, purpose, and the muse who which Shakespeare is writing. Both Sonnets have different styles. Sonnet 18 is a much more traditional poem, showing the reader a ...
While not audible emphasis, the images in the second and third quatrains help to empress upon the reader what love really is. The dominant imagery in the second stanza is that of a ship tossed in a violent storm: “It is an ever fixed mark, / That looks on tempests and is never shaken” (5-6).
However, throughout the first three lines of the second quatrain the image slips back and forth between comparing love to the ship and comparing love to the ships point of reference, “the star to every wandering bark.” Shakespeare continues to use the language of contrast in the quatrain saying “it is an ever fixed mark” (5), and it “is never shaken” (6).
This dichotomy creates tension and perhaps even confusion in the image, as to whether love should be seen as a ship or star, but the confusion seems appropriate when one considers the image itself; a “wandering” ship in a “tempest” does not elicit feelings of certainty, though love will weather the storm it may not always be the smoothest sailing.
To the notion of love’s capacity to endure hardship, Shakespeare adds imagery displaying true love’s longevity. In the third quatrain, he sharpens the image giving it more attention, more detail and focusing on the one image for the length of the quatrain. In this section those things often associated with love “rosy lips and cheeks” (9) – typical symbols of youth, beauty, and passion – are cut down by “Time’s . . . sickle,” but true love remains. Once again he emphasizes what love is not, claiming that time, personified and treated as the grim reaper, has not power over a love that last “even to the edge of doom” (12).
The image operates without clearly defining love, yet the reader’s sense of what one can definitely say about love grows because the image does clarify what characteristic it must have: endurance. He once again notes that it is unaltered no matter what may come to pass in this life or even death itself.
Shakespeare’s language and images do not leave one with a clearer picture of love; however, they do emphasize the key component of true love as he sees it: immutability. He sees love as that which cannot help but remain constant. Using the language and images he constructs his point accurately, but he avoids overt definition in order to avoid the obvious pitfall of trying to define that which defies all understanding. The images grow progressively sharper and more evolved as his concept of love grows somewhat clearer, but 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. He sees the results much like a strong wind blowing in the trees, but cannot ever hold it in his hand or his mind’s eye for that matter. However, to insure that has successfully made his point, he closes with a self-proving heroic couplet. Since he is writing at the time of the sonnet’s construction and since throughout the world at moment time many men are loving, then his point about love’s endurance must be true. To that I say that if this essay is not a good example of an explication then I’ve never written a paper in my life!
Scott Peck's view of love in The Road Less Traveled is a correction to what he thought everyone else thought love was. This paper will be an explanation of Peck's beliefs about love, a contrasting view on love, and my personal knowledge of Peck's beliefs. Peck had a very pessimistic and, at times, a contradicting view of what is believed to be "love" and introduced that in his section on the ...