Discuss three figures of speech used in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Given the fact that the Sonnet's focus is the description of love, I think that you could find much in it to serve as a figure of speech.  In my mind, one of the strongest figures of speech would be the description of love as a star in the heavens.  In lines 5 and 6, Shakespeare describes love as a "fixed mark, that looks on tempests and is never shaken."  The comparison of love as a star in the heavens to which all aspire and direct their attention connotes the celestial condition of true love and emphasizes its "other worldly" quality.  Another example of figurative language would be lines 9 and 10, where Shakespeare describes love as something that is not "Time's fool."  The implication here is to use figurative language in describing love as something permanent, not to be withered through the impact of time.  In describing it as "time's fool," Shakespeare might be suggesting that love carries with it a sense of lasting.   I would argue that the last example of figurative language could be found using the same type of analysis as outlined above. In the opening lines, I would submit that one can find an example of figurative language in how Shakespeare conceptualizes love.  In attempting to find examples of figurative language, seek to find ways that Shakespeare describes what love is.  In the opening lines lies one such example.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial