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The Shakespearean Sonnet Essay

889 words - 4 pages

Shakespeare's language and dialogue signifies a range of human emotions and conditions that are timeless and explain his broad appeal even today. He is highly regarded for his love sonnets which convey an unchanging attitude and consummate romantic imagery that will always exist in the world as long as there are people. He has created words, phrases, and clichés that have become so intrinsic in English language, that many people do not even know they are actually quoting him.

Shakespeare's Sonnet "Let me not to the marriage of true minds" is a perfect example of this and one of the most beautiful love poems of all time. The subject is the immutability of true love. In this sonnet, the author defines love first by telling us what it is not, then he tells us what it is by stating what it does. Next he draws the perfect and classic metaphor of the guiding star, and follows with the contest between Love and Time. In concluding, he gives us the assurance that his words on true love are true, and they seem so because they resonate in your heart.

In the first and second lines, the reference to "impediments" reflects the marriage ceremony, which we now know as, "If anyone knows a reason why these two should not be joined together, let him speak now or forever hold his peace." And Shakespeare says, do not allow anything to block the union of true minds. I think it is important to note that he is not really referring to marriage in the literal sense, he is talking about love, as he goes on in the next sentence. What is love? Well, here's what it is not: it is not something that changes. Or, to state it the other way around, if it changes, it must not be love. No matter what difficulties may come, true love will stand them and endure. How unlike our marriage statistics today, with over half of the marriages ending in divorce.

Metaphorically, Shakespeare compares love to a motionless pathfinder which withstands the storm and is not swayed by it, and to a polestar which guides mariners at sea. The ship tossed in the storm, and the star that guides its way are images of great beauty and depth of feeling. The lost ship speaks to each and every individual lost in the sea of our own emotions. The star can be thought of in the astronomical as well as the astrological or metaphysical sense. Although the star's altitude can be measured, its value is immeasurable. The "height" or altitude is its scientifically calculable measure but the "worth" is "unknown."

Shakespeare repeats words to strengthen his proclamation of the immutability of...

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