Essay PreviewMore ↓
William Shakespeare, in his Sonnet 73 and Sonnet 116, sets forth his
vision of the unchanging, persistent and immovable nature of true love.
According to Shakespeare, love is truly "till death do us part," and possibly
beyond. Physical infirmity, the ravages of age, or even one's partner's
inconstancy have no effect upon the affections of one who sincerely loves. His
notion of love is not a romantic one in which an idealized vision of a lover is
embraced. Instead he recognizes the weaknesses to which we, as humans, are
subject, but still asserts that love conquers all.
Shakespeare uses an array of figurative language to convey his message,
including metaphor and personification. Thus, in sonnet 73, he compares himself
to a grove of trees in early winter, "When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do
hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,..." These lines seem to
refer to an aged, balding man, bundled unsuccessfully against the weather.
Perhaps, in a larger sense, they refer to that time in our lives when our
faculties are diminished and we can no longer easily withstand the normal blows
of life. He regards his body as a temple- a "Bare ruined choir[s]"- where sweet
birds used to sing, but it is a body now going to ruin.
In Sonnet 116, love is seen as the North Star, the fixed point of
guidance to ships lost upon the endless sea of the world. It is the point of
reference and repose in this stormy, troubled world, "an ever-fixed mark That
looks on tempests and is never shaken;..."
He personifies the coming of the end of his life as night, which is
described as "Death's second self" in sonnet 73. However, in Sonnet 116 death
appears in the guise of the grim reaper, Father Time, who mows down all of our
youth, but still cannot conquer love- "Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips
and cheeks within his bending sickle's compass come;..."
While both poems make use of figurative language, sonnet 73 uses far
more imagery than sonnet 116. Sonnet 73 uses the image of the close of man's
life as a wintry grove with the few remaining leaves shivering in the cold.
How to Cite this Page
"Comparison of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 and Sonnet 116." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Jan 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- A Comparison between To His Coy Mistress and Sonnet 116 The poem "To His Coy Mistress" was written in the mid 17th century by Andrew Marvell, being written in this time Marvell's poem was unable to be published as its taboo content was unfavoured by the puritans in power at the time. Whereas "Sonnet 116" by William Shakespeare was written in the late 16th century, a time of liberation and freedom for the stage and literature. Both poems are similar in theme and yet different in approach, they both pursue the theme of love although Marvell in a satirical Carpe Diem love style whereas Shakespeare in a traditional sonnet style.... [tags: Andrew Marvell William Shakespeare Essays]
1542 words (4.4 pages)
- William Shakespeare’s sonnets are renowned as some of the greatest poetry ever written. He wrote a total of 154 sonnets that were published in 1609. Shakespearean sonnets consider similar themes including love, beauty, and the passing of time. In particular, William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 75 and Sonnet 116 portray the theme of love through aspects of their form and their display of metaphors and similes. While both of these sonnets depict the theme of love, they have significantly contrasting ideas about the same theme.... [tags: Iambic pentameter, Poetry, Sonnet, Love]
1314 words (3.8 pages)
- Arguably the most famed writer of all time, William Shakespeare became famous for his plays and for his sonnets. These sonnets discuss everything from the importance of children to the troubles of rival poets, and have even been divided into two distinct subgroups—those of the “Fair Youth” and those of the “Dark Lady”—because of the differences between the two. However, a common theme that runs throughout nearly all of them is that of love. Illustrating and exemplifying love, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 provides a classic example of this theme, as Shakespeare both defines love and holds it up as a paragon of all things good.... [tags: Poetry Analysis ]
2354 words (6.7 pages)
- Known as the leader in classical poetry and drama, English writer William Shakespeare, captures the passion and emotions that the romance and depths of the human heart experiences in life. This is especially shown in his vast collection of sonnets which exemplified the “carpe diem” ideology of the period, and the love that one can have for another. Two of the most famous of Shakespeare’s works, Sonnet 55 [Not Marble, nor the gilded monuments] and sonnet 116 [Let me not to the marriage of true minds], are no exception to this theme in poetry.... [tags: sonnet 55, sonnet 116, classical poerty]
1261 words (3.6 pages)
- Shakespeare's Sonnets & Romantic Love in As You Like It Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It is clearly a pastoral comedy with a country setting, a theme revolving around love and a story which consists of a series of accidental meetings between characters and a resolution involving transformations of characters and divine intervention. The comedy involves the traditional literary device of moving urban characters into the country where they have to deal with life in a different manner. Whereas the pastoral comedy was usually a vehicle for satire on corrupted urban values, in this play the satire appears to be directed at the convention of Petrarchan love.(Rosenblum, 86) Rena... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
2070 words (5.9 pages)
- There has been some dispute whether or not the sonnets are actually written by William Shakespeare, the strongest argument for this is the phrase "BY.OVR.EVERLIVING.POET.", in which some, the most notable being the entertainment lawyer and author Bertram Fields, argue that this would mean the author would be dead by 1609, while William Shakespeare lived until 1616. The 154 poems were most likely written over a period of several years and published in the 1609 collection. These were all in sonnet form and previously unpublished, with the exception of poem number 138 and 144 which had been part of The Passionate Pilgrim, released in 1599.... [tags: William Shakespeare]
1553 words (4.4 pages)
- An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, denying Time's harvest of love, contains 46 iambic, 15 spondaic, 6 pyrrhic, and 3 trochaic feet. Like the varying magnitudes of stars that distinguish the sky's constellations, infused with myths describing all degrees and types of love, the spondaic, trochaic, and pyrrhic substitutions create a pattern of meaning that can be inferred by the discerning eye and mind. Shakespeare emphasizes his denial of the effects of Time on love by accenting "not" in lines 1, 2, 9, and 11, and "no" in lines 5 and 14.... [tags: Shakespeare Sonnet Essays 116 Papers]
544 words (1.6 pages)
- Gatenby 1 Trevor Gatenby Professor Grant Moss English 3620 27 September 2014 Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 has always been one of my favorite works because of the value he places on love. Although I have read this sonnet many times before, I was glad to see that it was a topic of discussion this semester because I wanted to gain a further understanding of this particular sonnet. This sonnet comes in stark contrast to the first 15 sonnets where Shakespeare insists that the young man should not be wasting away his beauty.... [tags: Love, Sonnet, Romeo and Juliet, Iambic pentameter]
1480 words (4.2 pages)
- Structure and theme can hardly exist without the other in sonnet writing. Poets utilize (or, in some cases, do not utilize) the form of sonnets to make statements and further the effectiveness of their writing. Rhyme scheme, meter, and all structural elements become the metaphorical blocks for which compelling topics stand on. Although what the writer attempts to get across carries great importance, as does the form these words take on. Form, therefore, must contribute to the themes in different, but still necessary, ways.... [tags: Poetry, Rhyme scheme, Sonnet, Love]
1194 words (3.4 pages)
- In my survey of Shakespeare's Sonnets, I have found it difficult to sincerely regard any single sonnet as inferior. However, many of the themes could be regarded as rather trite. For example sonnet XCVII main idea is that with my love away I feel incomplete, sonnet XXIX says that only your love remembered makes life bearable, while sonnet XXXVIII makes the beloved the sole inspiration in the poet's life. These themes recycled in love songs and Hallmark cards, hardly original now, would hardly have been any newer in Elizabethan England. However the hackneyed themes of these sonnets is in a sense the source of their essence. These emotions, oftentimes difficult to adequately articul... [tags: Sonnet 116 Essays]
2569 words (7.3 pages)
person's later years are the twilight of life, to which the night of death
inevitably follows. Further, the end of life is compared to the embers of a
dying fire, "In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire That on the ashes of his
youth doth lie,...." All of these images express the fading light of a life in
decline. The short, dark days of winter, the last rays at sunset and the
glowing remnants beneath the ashes all evoke the beauty of a once vibrant life
which is coming to a close.
In contrast, sonnet 116 presents two images. The first is that of the
exploring seafarer, out on stormy, uncertain seas with the North star of love as
his only guide through them. Even though the seafarer attempts to
scientifically measure the worth of this love to him, it is immeasurable- "It is
the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth's unknown, although his height be
The second image in sonnet 116 is that of Time mowing down our rosy-
cheeked youth. Even so, however, love is not ended by our brief time on this
earth, but lasts until Judgment Day- "Love alters not with his [Time's] brief
hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom."
Finally, the tone of the two poems offers the greatest contrast between
them. Sonnet 73 has a narrator who is somewhat detached and accepting of his
infirmities. The entire main body of the sonnet, lines one through twelve, is a
physical description of the narrator's decline, which is related in a soft and
melancholy voice. It is only the concluding couplet which brings home the
message that the strength of true love is shown when it exists in the face of
the narrator's inevitable decline.
On the other hand, sonnet 116 has a passionate, didactic narrator. He
orders and exhorts the reader. He does not address the object of his affections,
as does the narrator of sonnet 73, but directly addresses his audience.- "Let no
man to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments." This narrator uses his
concluding couplet almost as an ironic aside. You can almost see him speaking
to his audience from behind the back of his hand- "If this be error and upon me
proved, I never writ , nor no man ever loved." There seems little likelihood
that Shakespeare thought that he had to worry about losing that bet.
In conclusion, while the two sonnets differ greatly in tone, differ
somewhat in imagery, and have some similarity and some difference in their use
of figurative language, both express the universal desire for unconditional,
never ending love. Sonnet 73 seems to say that even such a love ends at the
grave, though.- "To love that well which thou must leave ere long." Sonnet 116
bears it out even to the end of the world. Either poem offers a vision of love
to which we can aspire.
Works Cited and Consulted
Abrams et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, sixth edition, vol. 1. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1993.
Bender, Robert M., and Charles L. Squier, eds. The Sonnet: An Anthology. New York: Washington Square P, 1987.
Bloom, Harold. Modern Critical Interpretations: William Shakespeare's Sonnets. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. pg. 12-13
Ingram, W. G. and Theodore Redpath, Ed. "Sonnet 73," Shakespeare's Sonnets.New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1968. pg. 168-169.
Vendler, Helen. The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1997. pg. 333-336