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What is a figure of speech in "Sonnet 116" by William Shakespeare?

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mehtajeny | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 3, 2012 at 1:30 PM via web

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What is a figure of speech in "Sonnet 116" by William Shakespeare?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 3, 2012 at 2:14 PM (Answer #2)

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Shakespeare uses many types of figurative language in "Sonnet 116," particularly an extended metaphor to relate the idea of unchanging love to nautical terms.  In his opinion, love should be an "ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken;" a tempest is a violent squall, usually used to describe fast moving storms at sea (5). 

The next line reinforces Shakespeare's nautical extended metaphor by comparing the surety of true love to a star that "every wandering bark," or lost ship, could use to navigate themselves home safeley (7).  Through his use of extended metaphor, Shakespeare conveys the theme of steadfast love in the face of hardship.

 

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Kristen Lentz

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