Definition of love has never been the same in poems, books and for people as every love story is different from one another. Similarly, the ideas about love would also not be the same and one of those ideas has been written by a famous poet William Shakespeare with the title ‘Sonnet 116’ (Shakespeare 1906). It was written in a simple structure without any complex vocabulary but with a usage of enjambment which is the continuation of a line of poem to another without pausing in between. It has a rhythm scheme abab cdcd efef gg and it can be divided into three parts: argument, change in tone and resolution (Nowak, J.2018 “Lecture 3”, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, 27 March).
The opening lines of the poem gives the readers a glimpse of the poet’s attitude as it was written in a negative tone. It can be known when he argued that there is no reason why two people who truly love each other not be together with the words “Let me not to the marriage of true minds” (Shakespeare 1906). Within the same sentence, the words ‘Let me not’ only means that he does not approve unfaithful minds getting married. The word ‘marriage’ is used as a metaphor for true, real love. Then he continued what love is not. He changed the word ‘alters’ to ‘alteration’ and ‘remover’ to ‘remove’ to create a rhythmic effect (Nowak, J.2018 “Lecture 3”, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, 27 March) in the sentence “Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove” (Shakespeare 1906). Essentially, it presents that true love does not change under any circumstances nor get removed by the ‘remover’ which is used as a metaphor to represent someone who fell out of love or an obstacle.
There was a change in his tone as he continued to explain what love is because he then started to define love in a positive way. He defined love as an a ‘ever-fixed mark’ once again, a metaphor for a strong, permanent point or perhaps a lighthouse with will remain unmoved despite storms or strong waves. The poem used ‘tempest’ as a metaphor for storm like situations like lovers’ arguments and difficult times (Nowak, J.2018 “Lecture 3”, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, 27 March). To expand that point, love is a feeling that does not change and “That looks on tempests and is never shaken” (Shakespeare 1906) meaning that it will remain the same even the lovers see the problem coming towards their relationship. He uses the metaphor of the North Star to “The star to every wand’ring bark” (Shakespeare 1906) as the North Star guides lost sailors back home. The usage of the word sailor is due to the phrase ‘wand’ring bark’ which means ship or something on water which ‘height’ can be measured. The word star represents true love as it is one of the examples of beauty found in the world, which’s worth is beyond measurable and it cannot be changed as time passed unlike physical beauty and youth; meaning that “Love’s not Time’s fool” (Shakespeare 1906). The word ‘Time’ used before can be referred as a person, basically Death as the poem continued with the words “Within his bending sickle’s compass come” (Shakespeare 1906). The symbol of Death is a man with a bending sickle in his hand and he will be coming towards you just like the pointer of a compass is always pointing to north.