Loveis an emotion that most of us have ideasof what it is all about,and we can all confess to havingexperienced it. Whether it was true love or purely an obsession, thatis debatable,butwhat we need to ask ourselves is whether there exists a pure level ofemotion, if so how can it be defined. Shakespeare has examined thiskind of love in ‘Sonnet116’, where he strictlyobservethe rules of the sonnetbut at the same time strictly discussing the issue at hand.
Thepoet opens witha proclamationto say that it is not the intention of the writer to prevent the‘marriage of true mind`,butto explain what true love is. He goes on to state that such kind oflove does not ‘bends with the remover remove’ (Bercovitch,50).This means thatlovedoes not break even when a partner becomes unfaithful. It is one ofthe most prominent poems from Shakespeare, where he examined love(Damrosch,98).In this sonnet, the authors try to define and explain love byexplaining what is not or what it is. It, therefore, attempts todescribe what love is. The structure of the sonnet is simple whereeach quatrain gives a distinct theme and background explaining indetail every aspect(Damrosch, 98).This poem isdescribedas the few poems that were not directed to the fair Lord but in thereal sense it was indeed a true expression of the poet’s deepconviction about his appreciation of love.
Thepoem opens with the lines,” Let me notintothe marriage of true minds” drives the readers attention at a rapidpace especially when the writer uses an incomplete syntax known asthe enjambment, and then the continuation of the syntactic makes thereader want to read more.(Halliday, 98)Under the first quatrain, there is a clear assertion that true loveis just immortal, and it never changes, in that it can change on itsown nor be changed by any other factors that are external.
Inquatrain two, the writer embarks on a series of metaphors thatcontinue to assert that love is permanent, as seen in line number 5which says ‘ It is an ever-fixed mark’ that can bedescribedas that mark of the sea that guides the sailors in navigation whilemoving. To be able to understand the emphasis on love’s permanence,the poet in line 7 says that love is ‘star to every wanderingback.’(Halliday,98). Which helps us in navigation during the dark of the night,therefore, love as described by the author gives direction when it’sdark in life, that we can hold on to love as the only source ofdirection during hard times. Therefore, the two metaphors help uscomprehend that love is constant and dependable.
Quatrainthree bring home the theme of love’s undying essence whichwithstands the bending sickle’s compass that refers to time. Thebrief description of love in line 11, which says love ‘alters notwith his brief hours and weeks’ and in line 12 which furtherdescribes that love ‘bears it out even to the edge of doom(Halliday,98).In this stanza, love is seen to be strong and survives beyond timesthat can be brief, and thus only a destructive forces in theapocalyptic world that can destroy love. This is the reference toline 10 which uses the word “compass” in quatrain two, whichhelps in giving the definitive end of love on the judgment day(Bercovitch,50).The sonnet also expounds on the theme of genuine love stating that itstands against all odds and adversities encounters and it ‘isnever shaken.`Regardless of other insignificant factors such as beauty that fadeover time in a person, love cannot be dissolved or be washed away dueto such variables.
Inthe couplet of the poem, the poet states that in any case that he isdeludedabout how perfect love is, then he is forced to disown all hiswritings on truth, love and faith (Bercovitch,50).He even avers that in case he has made a wrong judgment on love, thenno single man has ever shown the love portrayed by the poet.
Bercovitch,Sacvan. Nineteenth-centuryPoetry: 1800-1910.Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004. Print.p.50
Damrosch,David. TheLongman Anthology of World Literature.New York [u.a.: Pearson Longman, 2008. Print.p.98
Halliday,F E. Shakespeareand His Critics.London: Gerald Duckworth& Co, 1963. Print.p.67