Study Guide

Sonnet 116 Love

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Everyone has a different definition of love, and this sonnet offers an optimistic take on it. Love here is seen as a truly powerful, unstoppable force of nature. It’s the only constant in a tumultuous and confusing world, and it’s a guiding star for all of us who are lost out there. This idealized view of love is timeless and still relevant to culture in our fast-moving 21st century world. Fans of The Princess Bride or more recently, Across the Universe, among gazillions of other examples, will recognize this theme in movies, music, books, blogs…or, basically everywhere.

Questions About Love

  1. How realistic, in your opinion, is this view of love?
  2. Other than immortality, does the poem suggest any of love’s other possible characteristics?
  3. Do you think the poem specifically refers to romantic love, or are there other kinds of love it might describe?

Chew on This

Sonnet 116 is commonly invoked as a definition of idealized romantic love, but it can be extended to apply to any form of love.

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