“Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds” by William Shakespeare is one of the most recognizable sonnets of all time. It explores the nature of love and what “True Love” is. William Shakespeare is credited to have written a total of 154 Sonnets.
Out of all the 154 sonnets he wrote, 126 are quite intimate in tone and are dedicated to a young male lover or friend ‘Mr. W. H.’ and rest to a woman known as the ‘Dark Lady’, but there is no documented historical evidence to suggest that people ever existed in Shakespeare’s Life. In this poem, he compares love to the star that is always seen and never changing. Even though the people in love may change as time passes, their love will not.
About William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was one of the greatest poets and dramatists of the English Language. Born at Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He went to London where his reputation as a dramatist and poet was established. During his literary career, he wrote a total of 154 sonnets, probably written between 1593 and 1598, which were published in 1602. The above-mentioned sonnet is sonnet number 116. He also wrote approximately 37 plays.
From and Structure of the Poem
The poem, “Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds” as is consistent with the sonnet is 14 lines long. Shakespeare breaks from the traditional Petrarchan sonnet, which is usually broken up into an octave (8 lines) and a sestet (6 lines). Shakespeare, however, writes this sonnet as 3 quatrains (a stanza with 4 lines), with the rhyming couplet at the end. Later this form of sonnet writing was identified as the “Shakespearean Sonnet”.
“Sonnets are largely written in ‘iambic pentameter’, which is also true for ‘sonnet 116’. The rhyme scheme followed by this sonnet is ABABCDCDEFEFGG – three quatrains and a couplet.
The theme of “Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds”
“Love” is the main theme of the poem “Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds”, love versus time, the concept of true love, and love as a source of guidance also are themes that are discussed in this poem.
About The Poem
In the first stanza of this poem, Shakespeare uses the metaphor of marriage to compare. It to true, real love. He is saying that there is no reason why two people who truly love should not be together, nothing should stand in their way. Perhaps he is speaking about his feelings for the unknown young man for whom the sonnet is written, Shakespeare says if love changes, it is not truly loved because nothing will change it.
The second quatrain of the sonnet beings with some vivid and beautiful imagery. He can now tell us what love is – he says that love is something that does not shift, change, or move, it is constant and in the same place.
The speaker says that love is just like a lighthouse in the sea. It withstands the wear and tear of storms and remains unshaken in severe conditions. Just like the north stars shows the direction of the lost ship in the midst of storms, true love directs the wandering souls in the right direction. The worth of true love is also like the value of the North Star. The value of these two cannot be estimated even if we come to know their heights.
In the third quatrain, the poet says that True Love is firm and constant. It never ends. Time has no effect on true love, love is not time’s slave. It does not change with the passage of time. Although time is a universal destroyer. It can destroy everything. It can cut down the physical beauty of a person. But true love does not come in the range of time’s sickle.
Time has no effect on true lovers. Here time is personified as a farmer harvesting the crops with a sickle. In other words, physical beauty is temporary, seasonal, and immortal. He is simply stating here that love does not change over the course of time, instead, it continues on ever after the world has ended.
In the last two lines of the poem “Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds”, the poet says that if someone proves he is wrong about love, then he is never worth the following words, and no man ever loved. He is conveying here that if his words are untrue nothing else would exist. The words he just wrote would have never been written, and no man would have ever loved them before. He is adamant about this and his tough words are what strengthen the sonnet itself. The speaker and poet himself are convinced that love is real, true, and everlasting.
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