Shakespeare's Sonnets Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How and why is the use of metaphors and imagery in Sonnet 116 effective?

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Shakespeare uses some very powerful metaphors to make his point in the sonnet, one that places love on an incredibly high level of spiritual and mental connection rather than more basic physical and sensual ones.

The line "an ever-fixéd mark/ That looks on tempests and is never shaken" is often quoted as being one of the metaphors for the fact that true love cannot be swayed or changed by any earthly force, even the most powerful storm or tempest.  It again emphasizes the fact that this is not a passing fancy or a merely physical desire that can be swayed by many things.  It is immovable and unchangeable.

He also writes that "Love’s not Time’s fool," indicating that even the forces of time cannot change this true love, just as the powerful forces of nature cannot.

If the goal is to extol true love as more powerful than all else, this sonnet, with all its metaphor and imagery, does a rather good job of it.

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