Are there any allusions in Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare "Let me not to the Marriage of True Minds" ? 

1 Answer | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The trope of love without qualifications prevails throughout Shakespeare's Sonnet CXVI, a sonnet that also sees a reconciliation between the poet and his loved one. The love described in this sonnet is a cerebral love, one that goes far beyond the physical; consequently, the passage of time matters not to this "marriage of true minds." In this sonnet, there are two allusions.

The poet declares that the -purest of love is an

...ever fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark. [ll.5-7]

1. Here, clearly, is the allusion to the North Star, a star that is brightly fixed in the sky. Because it remains stationary in the sky, sailors for centuries have used the North Star to guide them.

Another allusion is in line 12 as the poet declares that love of the mind and soul is not affected by the passage of time:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom. [ll.11-12]

2,  "the edge of doom" is an allusion to Judgment Day, the end of the world.

Sonnet CXVI differs from the usual Shakespearean sonnet in that instead of summarizing the sonnet, the final couplet attests to[ll.13-14] the truth of the verse:

If this be error, and upon me proved.
I never writ, nor no man ever loved. [ll.13-14]

This sonnet has an appeal for many a reader, as it elevates love to the level of the spiritual.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,912 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question