Sonnet 116 Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How is love presented in Shakespeare's sonnet 116 ("Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds")?

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Love is presented as the meeting and coming together "of two minds," rather than two bodies or something else. Love is much more mental than it is physical. Further, a true lover does not seek to change their loved one; whatever feeling that compels a person to try to alter another cannot rightfully be called love. Instead, love is an "ever-fixed mark," something steady and constant that cannot be shaken by any force, physical or otherwise. It provides a reliable light in the darkness to those who are lost or far away. Neither is love subject to the ravages of time, and, though beauty—"rosy lips and cheeks"—may fade, love itself will not decay or fade. It never wanes or lessens and remains faithful eternally. The speaker of the poem is so sure of this that he declares that, if he is mistaken, he has never written anything nor has any man ever loved at all.

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Verdie Cremin eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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People in the English Renaissance and earlier tended to see a major contrast between two different kinds of “love.” One kind...

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