A Comparison of Shakespeare's Sonnets 116 and 130

1354 Words Feb 3rd, 2018 5 Pages
In the first, love is treated in its most ideal form as an uncompromising force (indeed, as the greatest force in the universe); in the latter sonnet, Shakespeare treats love from a more practical aspect: it is viewed simply and realistically without ornament. Yet both sonnets are justifiable in and of themselves, for neither misrepresents love or speaks of it slightingly. Indeed, Shakespeare illustrates two qualities of love in the two sonnets: its potential and its objectivity. This paper will compare and contrast the two sonnets by Shakespeare and show how they represent two different attitudes to love. In Sonnet 116, Shakespeare defines love by way of truth. He begins not by launching into a discourse on the nature of love but on the nature of marriage, which, he implies, is built on commitment and truth: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments." If two people are honest and truthful then they will have understood just what is expected of them in their marriage vows therefore, the poet sees no reason to object. Love follows on truth, he seems to say. In fact, this must be so for the same principle applies in Sonnet 130. After an entire sonnet of lines in which the poet denigrates his mistress, he still finally refers to her as is his love despite it all, simply because she is unique in and of herself and the other half of…
Open Document