William Shakespeare was an English playwright, actor and poet also known as the “Bard of Avon” and often called England’s national poet. Born in Stratford upon-Avon, England, he was an important member of the Lord Chamberlian’s Men, company of theatrical players from roughly 1594 onward. Written records give little indication of the way in which Shakespeare’s professional life molded his artistry. All that can be deduced is that, in his 20 years as a playwright, Shakespeare wrote plays that capture the complete range of human emotion and conflict.
The works of William Shakespeare have been performed in countless hamlets, villages, cities and metropolises for more than 400 years. And yet, the personal history of Shakespeare is somewhat a mystery. There are two primary sources that provide historians with a basic outline of his life. One source is his work- the plays, poems and sonnets and the other is official documentation such as church and court records. However, these only provide brief sketches of specific events in his life and provide little on the person who experienced those events.
What seems to be true is that William Shakespeare was a respected man of dramatic arts who wrote plays and acted in late 16th and early 17th centuries. But his reputation as a dramatic period of the early 1800s and continuing through the Victorian period, acclaim and reverence for William Shakespeare and his work reached its height. In the 20th century, new movements in scholarship and performance have rediscovered and adopted his work.
Shakespeare’s “Let me not to the marriage of true minds” is specifically about his strong perception of genuine true love, how true love does not change over time and that it does not change depending on the circumstances, it stays solid like a lighthouse. He says he is absolutely sure of these. The poem was first published in 1609. Its structure and form are a typical example of the Shakespearean sonnet.
It begins by using the language of the Book of Common Prayer marriage service to make an explicit equation of love and marriage. If not only suggested that marriage is the proper end of love, but it also goes beyond to make love a necessary prerequisite. The quatrain continues by describing the essential constituents of the kind of love that qualifies. Such love does not change under changing circumstances, in fact, constancy is its first element. It continues even when unreciprocated or betrayed. Additional, true love does not depend on the presence of the beloved, but actually increases during absences. The second quatrain uses a series of metaphors to flesh out the character of proper love. Its constancy is such that is not only endures threats but actually strengthens in adversity. Its attractive power secures the beloved from wandering, and it sets a standard for all other lovers.
Sonnet 116 is about true love in its most ideal form. Shakespeare praises the glories of lover who have come to each other freely, and enter into a relationship based on trust and understanding. The first four lines reveal the poets pleasure in love that is constant and strong, and will not “alter when it alteration finds”. The poet begins by stating he should not stand in the way of the “the marriage of true minds”, and that love cannot be true if it changes
for any reason. True love should be persistent, through any difficulties, it does not change if circumstances around it change. If physical, mental or spiritual change does come, love remains the same, steadfast and true. The writer is quite significant in a sense that true love does not fade away in some short period of time but last till eternity. He is denying that anything can come between lovers (that is, be an impediment to their love).
Alternatively, the second quatrain speaks about what true love is. When Shakespeare says, “it is an ever-fixed mark” through the metaphorical “tempests” he suggested that love remains a fixed point and that true love is indeed an “ever fixed mark” which will survive any crisis, “is never shaken”. In other words, “Love” can be weathered down by time and difficult circumstances but still remains “true”. This is similar to the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche in that their relationship was weathered in her attempt to take his life; however, since their love was “true” love, they reconciled.
The remaining lines of the 3rd quatrain (9-12) reaffirm the perfect nature of love that is unshakeable throughout time and remains the same so “ev’n to the edge of doom”, or death.
The essence of love and friendship for the poet, apparently, is reciprocity, or mutuality. Sonnet 116, for an example, the ideal relationship is referred to “marriage of true minds”, a union that can be realized by the dedicated and faithful: ” Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments. ” The marriage service in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer-” if any of you know cause or just impediment” provides the model for the sonnet’s opening lines. In them, we see the poet’s attitude towards love, which he proceeds to define first negativity. He defines what love is not and then he positively defines what it is.
The poet then introduces the concepts of space and time, applying them to his ideal of true love “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks / But bears it out even to the edge of doom” ” Bears it out” simply means survive, “edge of doom” ‘Judgement day. (https://www.cliffnotes.com/literature/s/shakespeares-sonnets/summary-and-analysis/sonnet-116).
In the final couplet, the poet declares that, if he is mistaken about the constant, unmovable nature of perfect love, then he must take back all his writings on love, truth, and faith. Moreover, he adds that, if he has in fact judged love inappropriately, no man has ever really loved. Just how secure the poet is in his standards of friendship and love, which he hopes that he and youth can achieve, is evident in this concluding couplet, he stakes his own poetry as his wager that love is all he has described it to be. In the ideal sense that the poet professes. The details of sonnet 116 are best described by Tucker Brooke in his acclaimed edition of Shakespeare’s poems.