Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sonnet 116 v.s. Romeo and Juliet

In my last post I discussed whether or not Shakespeare believed in love at first sight. Now, I would like to discuss what else he really thought about love, including its duration and constancy. I'm taking a look at sonnet 116 and comparing it to Romeo and Juliet. Mandy made a post about this and I found it very useful. And I'd like to explore the topic as well.

It's obvious that Romeo's feelings for Rosaline were very fleeting and left as quickly as he fell in love with Juliet. This swift storm of emotion seems to discredit Romeo's feelings of love. Is this what Shakespeare really thought of love? That it is able to change and transfer from one person to another. I'm guessing not. After reading and analyzing sonnet 116, I'm thinking that the content within this sonnet is what Shakespeare really thought.

In a book called Shakespeare's Sonnets, the author, Callaghan, says:

In 116, if we approach the sonnet in terms of an unfolding narrative, the poet seems to be separated from his beloved. Strangely impersonal in its tenor, this sonnet constitutes a proposition about the nature of love rather than a declaration of love to another person.

Knowing this, we can assume that this sonnet is Shakespeare's opinion on love in general.

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

Love is constant and cannot easily come and go.