Shakespeare on Love Poem Review by Torie

Shakespeare on Love
An analysis of the theme of love in William Shakespeare's "Sonnet CXVI".
# 102657 | 710 words | 0 sources | 2003 | US
Published on Mar 31, 2008 in Literature (English) , Literature (Poetry) , Shakespeare (Sonnets)

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This paper examines William Shakespeare's "Sonnet CXVI" and attempts to show how he uses the sonnet form to write about love. It points out that Shakespeare's sonnets are divided into two sections. In the first octave, a concept is presented, while the subsequent sestet is responsive, in that it comments on the former. The paper holds that, on the surface, the sestet of "Sonnet CXVI" appears to merely be a change in tone to one more serious. The paper concludes, however, that a closer analysis of the sestet reveals that Shakespeare stops listing things that love is not and begins describing the one thing that love indeed is.

From the Paper:

"The first line of "Sonnet CXVI", which equates love to a "marriage of true minds," conveys the idea that persons joined in love experience more a blending of the souls than mere physical interaction. It is a natural introduction to the remainder of the octave, which presents the narrator's opinion that true love is not swayed by external changes in situation or physical attributes. The narrator emphasizes, "Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds/Or bends with the remover to remove," meaning that romantic feelings are not true love if they fade when one's situation is altered by circumstances or when lovers experience a separation. Shakespeare goes on to say that, "it [love] is an ever-fixed mark." The word "mark" as used here means a target, not a stain. The true lover keeps his or her eyes fixed on the goal of sustaining love; the true lover does not want out of a relationship that is occasionally stormy."

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