Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116: Analysis

Paper Info
Page count 2
Word count 564
Read time 2 min
Topic Literature
Type Essay
Language 🇺🇸 US

Continuing the tradition of Renaissance poetry, William Shakespeare creates numerous sonnets which touch on different metaphorical issues of human emotions such as love, fear, hate, and others. The compilation of the playwright’s short poems was first published in 1609 and consisted of 154 sonnets (Shakespeare 1). One of the crucial topics of Shakespeare’s sonnets was the question of identifying the ultimate description of love. One of the works addressing this issue is the sonnet 116, which was written in the iambic pentameter, inherent to the Renaissance poetry structure tradition. The sonnet reflects the definition of love which is controversial for the modern interpretation of this phenomenon and provides the reader with the motivation to understand this emotion better.

Elaborating on the concept of love, Shakespeare uses various metaphorical comparisons. It is compared with the star, the compass, and the “ever-fixed mark” (Shakespeare 28). Describing love in terms of nautical art, the author of the sonnet uses the images of the ship navigation to express the idea that only love can help the person choose the right path in life. Love is also compared to the ship itself, which helps a human to conquer the sea of the time and rapid flow of the events. Thus, the central theme of the sonnet is to highlight the essential role of love in human life and depict it as a complicated process.

Such a conceptualization of love is valuable for modern society because this emotion is believed to cause suffering and pain inevitably. The mental attachment to something is correlated with the pain because contemporary society striving to minimize energy tries to gain love without putting in enough effort. In the sonnet, Shakespeare emphasizes the idea that love is a complicated art that requires profound experience and knowledge to navigate. The author also stresses that the art of love is a complex process beyond time and space limitations. This salvatory emotion “bears it out even to the edge of doom” and will grow tirelessly in people’s hearts (Shakespeare 28). Thus, the trustful relation and precise exploration of love “indicators” mentioned in the text will help people live happily ever after (Shakespeare 28). Love is supposed to eliminate the fear of losing and even dying because living in love will exterminate all the regrets.

Writing this sonnet navigation tool in life due to its ability to overcome being happy and comprehending genuine love. Even though time is cruel to human life, love cannot be affected by it. By stating this idea, the author touches upon the more profound vision of the human being. Shakespeare sees the salvation and meaning of life in love as an inevitable institution throughout all the centuries. Being written more than a century ago, the sonnet is still relevant for the modern generation. Nowadays, technological development diminishes the vital role of human emotion. Sonnet 116 encourages people to find the motivation to live and work to understand this emotion better.

Therefore, written by Shakespeare, sonnet 116 discusses the topic of the sense of human being through the concept of love. Love can change the world and direct people to happiness, but it requires particular efforts. The author considers love as the only possible navigation tool in life due to its ability to overcome the course of time. Sonnet 116 can be helpful for people from modern society to understand the fundamental concepts of life.

Work Cited

Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare’s sonnets. Thomas Thorpe, 1609.

Cite this paper


EssaysInCollege. (2023, January 7). Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: Analysis. Retrieved from


EssaysInCollege. (2023, January 7). Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: Analysis.

Work Cited

"Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: Analysis." EssaysInCollege, 7 Jan. 2023,


EssaysInCollege. (2023) 'Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: Analysis'. 7 January.


EssaysInCollege. 2023. "Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: Analysis." January 7, 2023.

1. EssaysInCollege. "Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: Analysis." January 7, 2023.


EssaysInCollege. "Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: Analysis." January 7, 2023.