A Comparison of Shakespeare's Sonnets 116 and 130
1354 WordsFeb 3rd, 20185 Pages
In the first, love is treated in its most ideal form as an uncompromising force (indeed, as the greatest force in the universe); in the latter sonnet, Shakespeare treats love from a more practical aspect: it is viewed simply and realistically without ornament. Yet both sonnets are justifiable in and of themselves, for neither misrepresents love or speaks of it slightingly. Indeed, Shakespeare illustrates two qualities of love in the two sonnets: its potential and its objectivity. This paper will compare and contrast the two sonnets by Shakespeare and show how they represent two different attitudes to love. In Sonnet 116, Shakespeare defines love by way of truth. He begins not by launching into a discourse on the nature of love but on the nature of marriage, which, he implies, is built on commitment and truth: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments." If two people are honest and truthful then they will have understood just what is expected of them in their marriage vows therefore, the poet sees no reason to object. Love follows on truth, he seems to say. In fact, this must be so for the same principle applies in Sonnet 130. After an entire sonnet of lines in which the poet denigrates his mistress, he still finally refers to her as is his love despite it all, simply because she is unique in and of herself and the other half of…
Moving on to the sonnets, Sonnet 116 was a classic example of a conventional true love sonnet written by Shakespeare in the 16th century time period. It is very traditional and emphasises how love doesn’t change so therefore is “ever-fixed”. Hence, the tone of the poet is very serious and matter of fact. The rhyme scheme is very similar to the majority of the other sonnets with a rhyme scheme of C,D,C,D,E,F,E,F,G,G. Sonnet 116 contains 3 quatrains and a use of iambic pentameter. Throughout the sonnet there is use of imagery, for example “It is the star” emphasising that love will guide you. Through the duration of the sonnet love being permanent is exaggerated greatly. Shakespeare emphases how true love always preserves, despite any obstacles that may arise, “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks”. Inferring from this we can tell he is trying to get across that even if the circumstance or person changes love never dies. Sonnet 116 uses repeated pairs of words, “love is not love”, “alters when alteration finds” suggesting it is to be like “couples” and to also further emphasise the theme of love in the sonnet.
He also uses metaphors such as “looks on tempest and is never shaken” and “is the star to every wand’ring bark” This is emphasising that love is an essential part of the world by using metaphors based on natural elements. This sonnet affects the reader as it is saying that if the love was true, whatever the circumstance it would not change and is everlasting. This sonnet very much linked in with Hero and Claudio’s relationship. Their relationship is very traditional and conventional like the sonnet. Likewise it also shows that even through the dramatic wedding scenes and the accusations, Hero and Claudio still did eventually get married in the end. This emphasises how even throughout these circumstances their true love preserves as in the Sonnet 116 it says “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks”. In terms of the relationship of Benedick and Beatrice with Sonnet 116 is that “love is not love which alters”.
Benedicks reluctance of marrying: fear of being cuckolded and fear that his masculine pride could be threatened by women. This emphasises how at the beginning his love towards Beatrice wasn’t very strong but throughout the play grew stronger and did not alter. Sonnet 130 is the opposite of the stereotypical love sonnet. It in fact makes fun of the typical hyperbolic love poetry. He is emphasises that regardless of the clichés concepts of beauty his “mistress” is still as beautiful. Despite the content of the sonnet being different the rhythm still follows the common rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG. The final couplet contains the twist of the poem where after saying negative things about her, he still thinks she is beautiful. This makes the tone of the sonnet mature as it shows he is mature enough to love her regardless of mocking her looks. There is also a satirized tone as it is essentially making fun of a traditional love sonnet. There are many metaphors in the poem in the poem, “no such roses in her cheeks”, “if hair be wires,black wires grow on her.
These however are not directly used to describe Shakespeares “mistress”, each description undermines a metaphor. These metaphors also create imagery as the conventional desirable features e.g, red lips and musical voice, “my mistrtess,when she walks, treads on the ground”. This clarifies just like everyone else she is not a goddess, she walks like everybody else. She is as beautiful as anyone who is praised with these false comparisons. *effect on reader* *sonnet 8* *adaptions* This sonnet had a moral effect on the reader as it was emphasising that someone even with flaws can still be beautiful as everyone has different concepts to beautiful. Sonnet 18 being one of Shakespeares most famous sonnets links in well with the relationship of Hero and Claudio. Both being very traditional and conventional, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”, words much like a courtly lover and something Claudio would say to Hero.
There have been many adaptions to Much Ado About Nothing since the play was written by Shakespeare. Soon after it took to theatre stages and its earliest performances were in the North East of London dating back to 1598. The actions of the play would’ve been fast and continuous and would not contain any intervals. Kenneth Branagh directed and starred as Benedick in the 1993 film adaption of the play. In this film it is very true o the text and to the originals plays spirit. In the film expressions of the actions can be expressed more as some of these effects do not appear on written page, but combined with real life chemistry the two actors can make it more believable.
In 2005 a mini television series aired on BBC called “ShakespeaRe-Told”. This was a modern version of Much ado about nothing. It was set in the modern world so it didn’t stay entirely true to the script. Although the main change was in this version Hero and Claudio did not eventually get married and decided to separate. This is more of an accurate perception as now in the 21st century you wouldn’t love someone if they were to accuse you like Claudio did.
In conclusion Shakespeare presents the reoccurring theme of love not only in Much Ado About Nothing but in both sonnets in extent detail and presents the difference in perspectives of love between the relationships of Claudio and Hero and Benedick and Beatrice.