Sonnet 116 Review

marriage… impediments (1-2): T. G. Tucker explains that the first two lines are a “manifest allusion to the words of the Marriage Service: ‘If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony’; cf. Much Ado 4. 1. 12. ‘If either of you know any inward impediment why you should not be conjoined. ‘ Where minds are true – in possessing love in the real sense dwelt upon in the following lines – there can be no ‘impediments’ through change of circumstances, outward appearance, or temporary lapses in conduct. ” (Tucker, 192). ends with the remover to remove (4): i. e. , deviates (“bends”) to alter its course (“remove”) with the departure of the lover. ever-fixed mark (5): i. e. , a lighthouse (mark = sea-mark). Compare Othello (5. 2. 305-7): Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon’d; Here is my journey’s end, here is my butt, And very sea-mark of my utmost sail. the star to every wandering bark (7): i. e. , the star that guides every lost ship (guiding star = Polaris). Shakespeare again mentions Polaris (also known as “the north star”) in Much Ado About Nothing (2. 1. 222) and Julius Caesar (3. 1. 65).

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken (8): The subject here is still the north star. The star’s true value can never truly be calculated, although its height can be measured. Love’s not Time’s fool (9): i. e. , love is not at the mercy of Time. Within his bending sickle’s compass come (10): i. e. , physical beauty falls within the range (“compass”) of Time’s curved blade. Note the comparison of Time to the Grim Reaper, the scythe-wielding personification of death. edge of doom (12): i. e. , Doomsday. Compare 1 Henry IV (4. 1. 141): Come, let us take a muster speedily: Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.

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