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Essay on An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 116

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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. The forceful spondees at the beginning and the regular iambic feet at the end of each quatrain progressively build the poet's passionate rejection of love's transience. Quatrains 1 and 3, declaring what love cannot be, enfold his definition of love in Quatrain 2. The spondee, "It is," draws attention to the word "star" and the poem's essential metaphor, equating love and the North Star, at the poem's heart in lines 7 and 8. This figure of speech implies that while one can feel the intensity of one's love, i.e. measur...


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