Sonnet 116

Sonnet 116 

shakespeare is writing about how constant true love is. It cannot be broken or shaken, even as people age, if their love is real love it will remain powerful as ever. If it is genuine it will not change when circumstances do. He says if what he says isn't true, then he never wrote anything and no man has ever been in love, since we know men do love and he did write he's saying his words are true

  1. FORM- This poem is a sonnet, sonnets were a popular form for writing about love in shakespeare's era. This sonnet is made up of three quatrains ( a group of four lines of rhyming poetry) ending in a couplet. The regular rhyme scheme connotes a sense of completeness 
  2. STRUCTURE- the quatrains all discuss the same idea of love being unchaning in slightly different ways, using different imagery, the final couplet is the narrators garuntee that he's telling the truth.
  3. LANGUAGE ABOUT SAILING- true love is shown to be reliable, it guides us in a stormy and uncertain world.

LANGUAGE ABOUT TIME AND AGEING- when we get older we look different, perhaps not as attractive, but true love isn't teicked by the effects of time, it remains the same, it isn't at the mercy of time; it is infinate 

feelings and attitudes in the poem

  • DEVOTION-the voice of the poem is declaring a live which will not change 
  • CONSTANCY- he sees love as fixed and eternal, something that wont change 

TRUE LOVE- it's not shallow, superfical love which is based on what love looks like

'it is the star to every wand'ring bark'- metaphor which compares love to the pole star which stays in the same place 

time is also personified in this poem to make it dramatic, it also admits that it's within times power to take away beauty and youth

compare with either 'sonnet 43' or 'To His Coy Mistress' which deals with the effects of progressing love from an alternitive ang

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to his coy mistress

To His Coy Mistress 

the persona is telling the woman he loves that she shouldn't play hard to get and expect to be flattered and presented with gifts, as there isn't time. He says they should enjoy each other whilst they are young and attractive, he tries multiple arguements to pasude her, this could connote two things; he even doesn't know her well enough to know how to pasude her effectively, or he is desperate and struggling to comprehend her perspective 

  • FORM- this poem has a first person narrative, this makes it clear that this is a direct appeal to the coy mistress in the title. It's made up of rhyming which makes it well constucted and witty 
  • STRUCTURE- The first stanza explains that he would wish to spend foever wooing her, the second that he can't because they wont live forever, the third stanza suggests they should grab their pleasures whilst they can. This follows the traditional structure for arguements;if A, but B,therefore C
  • HYPERBOLE- he mocks his mistresses romantic ideas of love, his sense of fustration is begining to show through the use of hyperbole
  • LANGUAGE ABOUT DEATH- he reminds his mistress that time is passing, he moves his arguement on saying one day they will both be dead

AGRESSIVE LANGUAGE- as the poem progresses he becomes more direct in expressing his desire for her. He uses passionate and violent imagery.

feelings and attitudes in the poem

  • IMPATIENCE- he doesn't want to have a long courtship of her
  • URGENCY- time is moving on, he feels they need to live in the present 

RELUCTANCE- from the increasing fustration he shows it appears that she's unwilling to have sex with him.


'conversion of the jews' - something that will never happen

'the flood' reference to old testement adds religous lexis and exaggerates the time scale emphasizing his sarcasm

focuses on physical attributes

'deserts of vast eternity' - contrasts vastness and nothingness of death with how breif yet full of oppitunity life is

'like amorous birds of prey'- simile draws attention to the power and passion of these creatures to emphasize his immediate satisfaction

'time's winged chariot hurrying near'- metaphor from greek mythology, the sun god rides his chariot across the sky, shows passing of time.

ANDREW MARVELL= is know as a metaphysical poet, as he wrote about philisophical subjects 

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