How does William Shakespeare use poetic devices throughout Sonnet 116?

Expert Answers

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

Shakespeare's "Sonnet 116," like 115 and 117, discusses the nature of true love in terms of constancy, immutability, and alteration (of the loved one). Shakespeare chiefly uses extended metaphors, allusions, personification, and syntax to explore his theme

The first literary device is, of course, the form of the sonnet itself, the Shakespearean Sonnet—which is written in iambic pentameter and structured with three quatrains, and a couplet, rhyming A-B-A-B, C-D-C-D, E-F-E-F, and G-G. In addition, another very typical element of Shakespeare's poems is his use of syntactical inversion. Usual English word order is subject+verb+object, but Shakespeare often reverses the verb and object:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds

By this inversion of natural word order, Shakespeare emphasizes the actions and nature of true love, the theme he pursues in this sonnet. True love is not defined as an intense physical attraction but...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1023 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team