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GCSE English Edexcel Relationships: Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare
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GCSE English Edexcel Relationships: Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare



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  • 1. Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare Notes Translation of each line: (1)Let me not declare any reasons why two true minded people should not be married (2/3) Love is not love which changes when it finds changes in circumstances (4)Or bends from its firm stand even when a lover is unfaithful (5) It is an ever-fixed ‘mark’ ( mark = lighthouse) (6) it sees storms but it never changes (7) It is a guiding North Star to every lost ship (8) whose value can be calculated, but height cannot be measured (9) Love is not at the mercy of time although (10/11) physical beauty is cut down by time. time will alter beauty, but not love (12) Love does not change as time goes on)- Love lasts till the end – until judgement day ‘doom’ – Forever. -THIS IS THE END OF THE FIRST THREE VERSES(13) if i am proved wrong on these thoughts of love (14) i reject/recant all that I have written and forever nobody has ever loved - END OF FINAL COUPLET - Poem about ideal and absolute love Shakespeare = making a statement about this ^ He is saying that if these facts about ideal love are untrue then nobody has ever loved That everything he has ever written is all nonsense ( final couplet) The poem stops at line 12, till then everything is in one sense Not a very poetic poem – theres nothing complex or poetic about the poem March of iambics in final line Sonnet A sonnet should always be about one subject This is about ideal love Ends with a couplet – provides firm conclusion of poem, some serious emphasis - big thumping great end
  • 2. Rhyme - - This is a Shakespeare couplet where the last two lines rhyme The rhyming is very firm: o 1st quatrain – ABAB o 2nd quatrain – CDCD o 3rd quatrain – EFEF o Last coulet = GG 10 syllables per line Rhythm = iambic pentameter However, it won’t always be iamb, iamb, iamb 5 feet so iambic pentameter Line 1: | T /_ | T /_ | I_/ | P_ _ | S / /| | Let me| not to | the mar | riage of | true minds | - _ = unstressed , / = stressed T = Trochee (stressed, unstressed) I = Iamb (unstressed, stressed) P= Phyric (unstressed, unstressed) S = Spondee (stressed, stressed) - Line 2: | Admit |imped | iments: | love is | not love | | _/ | | _/ I | I | | __ | P | /_ | /_ | T T | | Diction - Suitable vehicle for logical thoughts Simple poem  simple message  straight forward nature of poem straight forward rhyme scheme It is formal because it has a set way of being written : 3 quatrains and then a final couplet Straight forward and natural Conveys a sense of natural conversation and intimacy especially because he is talking directly to us Since it is a flexible iambic pentameter it does not always need to be 5 iambs – makes it colloquial The rhyme scheme is very formal Since last line = PURE iambic pentameter brings poem to a stern end – emphasises o Conclusive line  dramatic, neat end Diction = very simple
  • 3. - Poem = 75% monosyllables Due to the monosyllables, the word ‘impediments’ has a serious affect Impediments = allusion – a reference to something from somewhere else outside the poem – The word ‘impediments’ is used in the Christian marriage ceremony ‘alterations’ also stands out due to monosyllables Extreme simplicity o poem shows sincerity, straight forwardness Imagery ‘It is an ever fixed mark’ - ‘mark’ =image of a light house ‘tempest’ = storm Lighthouse standing strongly + firmly in the midst of a storm. Image = metaphor of love Love is like a lighthouse – stands strong in the midst of chaos ‘stars’ - fixed + permanent Polaris – the Pole star – the North Star  guides ship Love = North star to every ship, you can guide your ship of life by the Pole star Offers hope and consolation Wandering ship (bark) another image Life = like lost ship in sea – need to come to port  cant due to chaos surrounding us but love = solution to everything True value of star = unknown Qualification – love is distant + immeasurable  can make some sort of measurement Some love = really great, other love = not so great Either way – we still don’t really understand love Love = not destroyed by time ‘time’ = king, ‘fool’ = jester o King controls jester o Love cannot be controlled Rosy lips- red cheeks – imagery Some things fall in the reach (‘compass’) of the sickle Beauty = affected by time = love is not Love is not times fool but beauty is Use of repetition of ‘s’ = sibilance – very noticeable in lines 9 + 10 Line 10 – compass come = alliteration Line 11 = repetition – reinforcing that love does not alter with time o Emphasis Star = male + metaphorically male – cupid = male Allusion – his height = cupid In summary, the poet has employed 110 of the simplest words in the English language and two of the simplest rhyme schemes to produce a poem which has about it no strangeness whatever except the strangeness of its perfection.