Sonnet 116
Sonnet 116
by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 116 Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Elizabethan (Shakespearean) Sonnet, Iambic PentameterLet’s tackle the simpler part first: the meter. This sonnet, like all of the other sonnets, and like Shakespeare’s plays, is written...

Speaker

This guy has been through the wringer with love, and emerged with a clearer understanding of it. He’s absolutely certain that the vision of love he depicts here is the right one, and he’...

Setting

Well, we can’t put our finger on a real "setting" for this poem for an obvious reason: there isn’t one. There are no events that take place, and no actual places referenced at all. Howe...

Sound Check

This poem manages to sound both consistently rhythmic and conversational, formal and casual, planned and spontaneous. Faithful watchers of Law and Order or any other courtroom drama might recognize...

What's Up With the Title?

None of Shakespeare’s sonnets actually have titles; instead, we just refer to them as the numbers of their order in the sequence, or, in a few cases, by their famous first lines (if you just...

Calling Card

Clarity, consistency of form, and in a word – perfection!There’s a reason Shakespeare is Shakespeare, if you get our meaning. You don’t become the most famous and widely beloved p...

Tough-O-Meter

(3) Base CampOkay, sure, it’s Shakespeare – that means there are some ten-cent words and an antiquated image or two, so it’s not just sunshine and lollipops. However, of all the S...

Brain Snacks

The original publisher of the sonnets, Thomas Thorpe, included a mysterious dedication that has puzzled readers for centuries. He dedicated the book to a certain "Mr. W.H." – popular contende...

Sex Rating

GFor a love poem, Sonnet 116 is awfully chaste. It deals more with the emotional side of the L-word, rather than its physical…er, consequences. The poet defines an idealized "marriage of two...

Shout Outs

OtherAnglican Marriage Service (1-2); for contemporary text, check out this link Polaris, the North Star (7-8)

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