Sonnet 116 William Shakespeare

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  • (1564-1616) English Renaissance
  • Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, many of which had subtext of homosexual love
  • Echoes of Plato's symposium; equal lovers
  • Could be said to have autobiographical tone
  • The Shakespearean sonnet is divided into four parts 
  • The first three parts are each four lines long, and are known as quatrains, rhymed ABAB; the fourth part is called the couplet and is rhymed CC.
  • The Shakespearean sonnet is often used to develop a sequence of metaphors or ideas, one in each quatrain
  • While the couplet offers either a summary or a new take on the preceding images or ideas.
  • Shakespeare’s use of the sonnet form is richer and more complex than this relatively simple division into parts might imply.
  • His sequence largely occupied with subverting the traditional themes of love sonnets—the traditional love poems in praise of beauty and worth, for instance, are written to a man, while the love poems to a woman are almost all as…


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