Immortality in Sonnets





The central idea of Shakespeare\'s sonnets is that he immortalizes love. Everything fades; beauty can be destroyed by time; but love will last forever. He does this by writing a monologue in the form of an address, and places a carefully reasoned argument that moves in a series of steps. I have chosen "Sonnet 116" to discuss this idea. It is one oh his most famous sonnets.
The Shakespearean sonnet is a poem of 14 lines in Iambic pentameter divided into three quatrains and a concluding couplet. The rhyme scheme is generally abab, cdcd, efef, gg, or abba, cddc, effe, gg.
The first line is a question that proposes a comparison between the object of Shakespear\'s affection and summer. Summer is chosen because it is beautiful, like his lover. In the second line the comparison is restricted. In outward appearance the object of his affection is more beautiful, and less extreme than summer. The next four lines describe the less pleasant aspects of summer. This is the reason for the restriction. In the seventh and eighth lines Shakespeare complains that every beauty will become less one day. The ninth line goes back to the idea of summer but refers to it now as the summer of life. The comparison is also a contrast if you go back to line seven. Then in lines eleven and twelve he makes the promise that death will be conquered. These are known as eternal lines that point towards the final couplet, which summarizes the theme: poetry is immortal and makes beauty immortal.



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