Shakespeare Sonnet 116 Analysis Essay
Argument had always been one of the common rhetorical modes of the sonnet, but it was the English who made argument supreme, subordinating every other rhetorical momentum.
No longer was the sonnet exclusively dominated by the interior logic of meditation or the associative logic of image; no longer was the poet content to dwell upon fugitive sightings of the beloved.
The argument appears to be abstract or philosophical, not personal at all, not "interested" in the narrow sense.
Quatrains 1 and 3, declaring what love cannot be, enfold his definition of love in Quatrain 2.
The spondee, "It is," draws attention to the word "star" and the poem's essential metaphor, equating love and the North Star, at the poem's heart in lines 7 and 8.
Love's story may be oblique, but love's argument is mounted directly. Yeats, "Easter 1916" (February 4, 1998) Richard Wilbur, Philip Levine, and Peter Davison give voice to one of the century's greatest poems.
And, since the sixteenth century, that argument often stands or falls upon the couplet. The first installment in a series of classic-poetry readings by contemporary poets, with an introduction by David Barber.