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Sonnet 116 Theme of Mortality

Mortality in this poem, if not anywhere else, is a non-issue. While Time is usually seen as a force of destruction, which wreaks havoc with basically everything we mere mortals do, it doesn’t have an impact on the true power of Love in this poem. Though age and decay may affect the beauty of a loved one, Sonnet 116 claims that real love perseveres in spite of this, and continues to live on until "the edge of doom" (12), otherwise known as Judgment Day.

Questions About Mortality

  1. In your personal reading of the poem, does true love last until every person’s individual "doom" (death), or until "DOOM" (the end of time)? Do these different interpretations of this word change the meaning of the poem?
  2. The idea of immortality appears overtly in line 12, but what images introduce this concept earlier in the poem?
  3. Though God is not mentioned, the idea of the "edge of doom," or Final Judgment, is a Christian one. Does religion play any role in this poem?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The description of Time as "brief" leads readers to believe that Love is not subject to Time; rather, the opposite is true, and Time is rendered insignificant in comparison to Love.

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