What is the emotion of Shakespeare's speaker in Sonnet 116?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write10,319 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

More than anything, Sonnet 116 is about true love, an everlasting love that does not alter. Shakespeare is positing an ideal, almost Platonic understanding of love, one that transcends the vicissitudes of both time and chance. By using metaphors such as a guiding star Shakespeare is emphasizing both the permanence and natural quality of this ideal love; it is in the world, but not of it. In setting forward this heartfelt, yet somewhat austere conception of love, Shakespeare is adopting a tone that is almost didactic, teaching the object of his affection both what love is and what it is not. The sonnet is not an unrestrained gush of emotion; it is a sober, artfully contrived meditation on the nature of true love, one that the speaker hopes will bring his lover to a deeper, more fulfilling understanding of her emotions.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Shakespeare's speaker, who begins with a most ceremonial tone in the first lines, expresses awe and firm conviction regarding the power of intellectual/spiritual love.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.

In this sonnet, the speaker argues that the ideal romantic love is one that conjoins body and soul. For true love surpasses the corporeal, the "rosy lips and cheeks" and the temporal, the"brief hours and weeks"; indeed, it remains constant and eternal "even to the edge of doom."

Furthermore, there is an earnestness to the tone of the speaker as he expresses this profound sentiment. Indeed, his emotional insistence suggests that if he can succeed at his argument that a spiritual love supercedes time and is steadfast through eternity, he strengthens the puissance of his own feelings and may well capture the mind and heart of his beloved.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial



user4954421 | Student

I did not complete my quesiton. What was the emotion of the author in Shakespeare's, Let me not to the marriage of true minds?

Ask a Question