Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments; love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

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

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

William Shakespeare

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16 comments on “Sonnet 116
  1. Profile photo of Sofia says:

    In ‘Sonnet 116’ the author, William Shakespeare uses a variety of techniques to portray the importance of love. The whole of the poem does revolve around concept of love being special. Shakespeare even uses biblical imagery to enhance his ideas. lexical choices such as ‘impediments’ and ‘edge of doom’ which implies the end of the world or the grim reaper’s sword ready to take away life. ‘Love’s not Time’s fool’ here the author is personifying love and time as they are both capitalised which suggests that it is more important and that he wants to make the imagery stronger. By saying that ‘Love’s not Time’s fool’ can convey that love is not the slave of time. Love doesn’t respond to time and that time does not matter as long as their love will last forever even after death.

  2. Profile photo of Deana says:

    The poem Sonnet 116 ‘Let me not to the marriage…’ is not the writer expressing their love for someone, but the writer is discussing the idea of the concept of love. The poet is saying that love will experience storm (tempests) however, if it is true love it will last forever “it is an ever fixed mark”. Love is also described as a star ‘to every wandering bark’ which conveys that love is like a light that guides you which resembles the North Star in the story of Jesus. Moreover it also conveys that love is constant, because stars are always constant throughout the night sky- eternal and unchanging. The opening line implies that if love is not true it will not last, but if it is true love then it will last forever “Let me not to the marriage of true minds, Admit impediments: love is not love”.

    Furthermore loves worth is also discussed within the poem “Whose worth’s unknown” which portrays that love is priceless. Also love cannot be affected by the loss of youth: “Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks”. The word time is personified to highlight that time is an object that can affect thing throughout life, but love is the only thing that is immune. Additionally the poem’s last line comes across as quite aggressive and arrogant: “I never writ, nor no man ever loved’” which implies that if he is wrong nobody has ever loved and therefore he has never written. But he wrote this poem and subsequently he must be correct. Lastly, if all what he has said turns out to be wrong then he will take back everything that he has said.

  3. Profile photo of Kerry-Louise Boyne says:

    Through out this poem William Shakespeare conveys his thoughts and ideas about true love.
    Shakespeare shows that if love is from the heart and is true love then nothing will affect it, ‘love is not love which alters’this implies that it isn’t love if over time things change because you should still feel the same towards the person. Furthermore, ‘Loves not times fool’ this shows that it’s not going to get bored and change over time but if its true love will thrive more and grow like a fixed mark. This links later on in the poem when Shakespeare talks about, ‘an ever fixed mark’ this has connotations of the norht star due to the following line about sailing and could prove that your not lost when you have love.

    Throughout the poem Shakespeare uses religious lexical terms which could show the wider society how true love was viewed in Shakespeares era of a marriage with God and to be married, ‘marriage of true minds’ Phrases like this throughout the poem reiterate the idea of marriage bonding love together.

  4. Profile photo of Evelina Peterson says:

    In the poem “Sonnet 116 – Let me not to the marriage…” the author portrays the importance of love by discussing the concept of which it follows. The use of biblical imagery enhances his ideas, by linking ‘love’ to ‘marriage’ giving the idea that they bond one another together. “Love is not love which alters when alteration finds.” Here, the writer shows that even if the person changes, their love never will, because it is strong enough to overcome any obstacle which is put in its way. Furthermore, “Love is not Times fool” shows that love is not the slave of time, and if love changes through time, then it wasn’t true love. The writer personifies ‘love’ in order to give stronger imagery, and further portray his point, that love is priceless “Whose worth is unknown”. Further on, Shakespeare uses an extended metaphor in his comparison of love to a star; specifically the North Star, known of its stable point, at which others rely on. “It is the star to every wandering bark.” Here, the poet’s use of imagery connotes that love is the star, which is leading us through life.

  5. Profile photo of Felicity Hale says:

    This poem is about love, not between a speaker and his lover, but as a idea. The poem explores what is meant by love, and believes that, if it is true, love is one of life’s constants which does not change with time. Shakespeare uses metaphors based on natural elements: love “looks on tempests and is never shaken” and “is the star to every wand’ring bark”. Love is shown as an essential part of our physical world; it’s a fixed point of light in the sky: a “star”.

  6. Profile photo of Ellie says:

    The poem ‘Sonnet 116 ‘Let me not to the marriage’ by Shakespeare, he is talking about love at its most perfect and truest and is conveying how love is either true or not and there is no spectrum.
    It is mentioned “marriage of true minds” this demonstrates how the poet is talking about connections between people rather than actual psychical love.
    “It is the star to every wandering bark” this conveys how love is like the North Star that never changes even in a storm. This portrays love as being never changing no matter what your going through and love is only true if you always love them.

  7. Profile photo of amy p says:

    The main theme throughout Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 116,’ is the idea of never ending love. The phrase “Which alters when alteration finds,” conveys how even if the person you love changes over time, your love for them should never change.In addition the quote “That looks on tempests,” also portrays how you can go through tough times however your relationship will never change, again emphasising how strong love can be.

    Furthermore the line “Love’s not time’s fool,” utilises personification to connote how love does not respond to time and is everlasting. Overall Shakespeare is being idealistic about the ideas of love and is writing about it as though it is the most important emotion or goal in life.

  8. Profile photo of Sophie says:

    Sonnet 116
    The poem Sonnet 116 ‘Let me not to the marriage…’ was written by William Shakespeare and focuses on an ‘idealistic love’. Throughout the poem Shakespeare is describing the characteristics of true love, this is conveyed by the line ‘Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks’. The personification of love demonstrates its importance to the writer. Furthermore ‘Love’s not Time’s fool’ this shows how love doesn’t respond to time, that when two people are truly in love with one another, time doesn’t matter. The line ‘But bears it out even to the edge of doom’ shows that being love is an extremely strong emotion, that while you are in it nothing else matters; therefore if it ends you subject yourself to suffer greatly. However the words ‘bears it out’ represents how the writer feels that the feeling of love is worth the risk of heartbreak.

  9. Profile photo of Brooke Roberts says:

    William Shakespeare’s poem ‘Sonnet 116’ is was of his many sonnets in which he portrays plutonic love and also ones of many that were aimed at mine , in this case his dear friend the Earl of SouthHampton, which is why there were manu supsicions of Shakespeare’s sexuality.

    However the homosexual theme in this poem is juxtaposed by the inclusion of the word ‘marriage’ which, by law, is unavalibe to two people of the same sex and therefore if he was infact talking about a man he would have used th term cilval partnership. By describing the marriage as one of ‘true minds’ it illustartes that he believed it was not about physical connections and, like many of his other sonnets, was plutonic. The same idea is portrayed through the line ‘love is not times fool’ suggesting that love carries on when time doesn’t. The description of love being a fixed mark is aslo illustrated through the inclusion of the line ‘ever fixed mark’ when describing the north star.

  10. Profile photo of charlie says:

    Sonnet 116 “let me not to the marriage” was written by William Shakespeare and was written in the rhyme scheme AB,AB,CD,CD,EF,EF,GG. The poem was written about a man. The poem is written in Iambic pentameter which emphasises the importance of some of the key words in the poem.

    Shakespeare conveys his feelings about love and what true love is throughout the poem.”love is not love” portrays that love is not love if you love someone whilst in a marriage. The poem carries on to define what true love is when it says “which alters when alteration finds” which shows that love is not love if when someone changes you stop loving them. However that is a nautical comment which could be seen as homosexual. “Loves not time’s fool” is personified and highlights that love is not controlled by time and doesn’t change over time. “rosy lips and cheek” portrays youth and paints a picture of the smile of youth. “with his bending sickles compass come” is a reference to the grim reaper and portrays that your time has come. The first 4 lines of the poem set up a problem. Shakespeare uses biblical language “edge of doom” which portrays love lives on after end of the world. It could also mean that when doom happens love ends so love only goes to the edge of doom. This could confer that when something bad happens love is destroyed. “I never writ, nor no man ever loved” could be saying that he has written therefore he has loved a man.

  11. Profile photo of Vicky Murkett says:

    The poem focuses on how Shakespeare expresses his ideas of what true love is. He believes marriage of ‘true minds’ has no obstruction and is his idealist love which suggest he supports platonic love.
    The poet also talks about the changes in relationships for quite some time showing its important to him and he even writes ‘Time’ with a capital to personify it as someone or something that breaks love. He also wants to conveys that it stays an ‘ever-fixed mark’. Not only does he portray how real love battles through time no matter what happens, it has connotations of the star of the north. He carries on the imagery by using ‘tempest’ to symbolise arguments or how true love (being the north star) guides you through.
    He finishes of the poem suggesting if there is ‘error’ in his beliefs than he has ‘never writ’ which shows his definite confidence in his view.

  12. Profile photo of jenna says:

    “Sonnet 116 ‘Let me not to the marriage…’” was written by William Shakespeare. The focus of the poem is that love is an independent thing which does not respond to other matters. In the first few lines this is made clear by the phrase “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” This piece of dialogue is written by Shakespeare implying that if love alters/changes when other changes happen then it is not true love. From this idea we understand that true love does not ever change it is an “ever-fixed mark”. Also, further on in the poem Shakespeare writes “Love’s not time’s fool”. By capitalising the “L” of “Love’s” Shakespeare is suggesting the importance of the word and also its independence. This phrase demonstrates that love does not respond to time and nor is it dependant on it.

  13. Profile photo of Rhianna Creasey says:

    Sonnet 116 has the main theme of love and throughout the poem, Shakespeare is trying to show what love is. In the first line, Shakespeare uses enjambment “Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments …” This lexical phrase could suggest that true love is immortal and unchanging: it neither changes on its own nor allows itself to be changed, even when it encounters changes in the loved one.

    In the middle of the poem, Shakespeare uses metaphors to further show how permanent true love is. In line 5 it is an “ever-fixed mark,” a sea mark that navigators could use to guide their course; in line 7 it is a steadfast star which has connotations of the North Star could symbolise how love is always there and how permanent it is as the North Star never moves. Both of these metaphors emphasize the constancy and dependability of true love.

  14. Profile photo of Georgina King says:

    A sonnet is a poem written about the theme of love. Sonnet 116 was one of Shakespeare’s many sonnets and is written about Shakespeare’s ideas of the principles of true love. He wrote “love is not love/ Which alters when alteration finds” to express his belief that love should not change despite any changes of the two people. He believes that if love changes as a result of change, then it was never true love in the first place. Shakespeare makes many bold claims such as this throughout his poem as he believes that he has the correct views on true love. He uses marriage related lexis such as “alters” to connote the religious ceremony and strengthen his belief of love being sacred. He uses the sacred ceremony of marriage and other religious references such as “edge of doom” to strengthen the validity of the bold statements he makes. Shakespeare also uses the idea of love being sacred to portray it as a powerful abstract idea.

  15. Profile photo of Lauren McCorkell says:

    ‘Sonnet 116’ is a poem which is rich with connotations, obviously as the structure is in sonnet form the poem therefore takes on the theme of love. Overall, the poems message is that Shakespeare himself is completely correct about the ideas of love “If this be error and upon me proved,/I never writ, nor no man ever loved” shows how sure he is that his ideas are undoubted. One of the main ideas he portrays through the poem is that true love never dies “love is not love/Which alters when it alteration finds”. This states the fact that if your love changes because the person or situation changes it was never really ever love. Shakespeare portrays the idealistic image of love, you either in love or not at all. The theme of true love is explored throughout the entire poem.
    “love’s not Time’s fool” is another idealistic view of love. He’s trying to say how love carries on no matter how long for. Love is shown to disregard time therefore never ending. Shakespeare personifies both love and time because they are human concepts and a both very abstract. Also, it is trying to say that most things in life are Time’s jester however Love is an exception, its different because True Love is so strong.

  16. Profile photo of Rhianna King says:

    In William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, aside from love, two other key aspects are loyalty and mortality.

    Shakespeare suggests that love is not true without loyalty and that without loyalty “love is not love” and therefore loyalty is an important, significant aspect of love. Shakespeare presents an idealistic version of love which many would believe to be unrealistic and illogical. He wrote “…love is not love/Which alters when it alteration finds,” which means people who really are in love will stay together regardless of the circumstances, if they themselves change or even if someone tried to come between them because the speaker believes that if feelings are true then people will remain loyal to each other and stay together forever. The importance of loyalty is further highlighted with “O no! [Love] is an ever-fixed mark/ That looks on tempests and is never shaken” as the noun ‘tempests’ could refer to difficulties like arguments which could damage a relationship much like a storm. However, he believes that forgiveness should always be given within true love- which is yet another demand which many would believe to be unrealistic.

    The issue of mortality is also addressed; however, it is not presented as an issue. Throughout this sonnet, it is suggested that although age and time may change someone and death could take them away from you, real love will live through all of this and would be eternal.

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