Please explain the place and the function of Sonnet 116 and Sonnet 18 in the Sonnets of William Shakespeare.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Sonnets of William Shakespeare were probably composed over a period of many years. Some were published as individual poems before they appeared in the 1609 collection entitled Shake-speares Sonnets published by Thomas Thorpe. It is unlikely that Shakespeare himself supervised the publication or intended the sonnets to be published in the precise form and order in which they are presented in the edition. The first group of sonnets, 1-126, probably focus on a very close friendship between the narrator and a young man, although often the gender of the addressee is unclear, while 127-152 are clearly addressed to a woman. Sonnets 18 and 116 belong to the first group.

“Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?” :Emphasizes the importance of poetry and therefore functions as a sort of self-advertisement.

“Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments” functions to suggest that external circumstances should not be allowed to get in the way of love, suggesting the existence of such impediments in the narrative of the sonnets.

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Shakespeare's Sonnets

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