Analysis Of Shakespeare Sonnet 116

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Out of the 154 sonnets that Shakespeare composed, Sonnet 116 is often categorized as a favorite for Shakespearean readers. It’s simple structure and transparent metaphors allow for a complete understanding of Shakespeare’s attitude towards what is referred to as “true love”. Within these words the reader can also discern the attitudes of the traditional “courtly love” of Shakespeare’s time. The belief of true love and its ability to be unwavering was just as important to the people of the 16th century as it is to modern day people. This sonnet is written in a traditional English sonnet format of 14 lines in iambic pentameter, structured as three quatrains and a couplet, although there is some metrical flexibility as noted in the 11 syllable line, “that looks on tempests and is never shaken” (line 6). Sonnet 116 is written in the usual rhyme scheme of ABAB/CDCD/EFEF/GG, as are most of Shakespeare’s sonnets. However, Shakespeare does take some poetic license with the use of eye rhymes and off rhymes such as: love/remove and come/doom. The poem moves at a rapid pace due partially to the enjambment or run-on lines which keep the action moving along without a natural caesura. Although simply written, this poem allows the reader to understand what real romantic love is. It is unchanging, unfading, never ending and is flawless. The courtly love, of Shakespeare’s time, was based upon the same ethics as the code of chivalry that was practiced during this time. C. S. Lewis wrote of courtly love in his book The Allegory of Love, saying that it was a, “"love of a highly specialized sort, whose characteristics may be enumerated as Humility, Courtesy, Adultery, and the Religion of Love" (p. 2). Just as knights pledged an oath to their King for a lifetime of servitude, the consort of courtly love also pledges their love for a lifetime to the object of their affection
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