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"A World Of Light And Dark"

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376 words
Poetry & Poets

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Poetry- Essay 1
New Criticism
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments...," begins Shakespeare in his "Sonnet 116". This work is a potent discourse on the nature of love, not only because of the passion which Shakespeare spills forth onto the page, but also because it takes a bold stance concerning the most mysterious of emotions. Through a careful examination of the text, it is revealed that love is a very black and white subject to Shakespeare. In fact, the poem asserts that the world is constituted solely of extremes: light and darkness, love and hate, and there are no shades of gray to stand between these forces.
According to Shakespeare, "Love is not love/ Which alters when it alteration finds,/ Or bends with the remover to remove" (Shakespeare 2-4). Here the author is establishing that there can be no wavering where love is concerned. This establishes a sense of permanency which will linger through out the sonnet. "O no! it is an ever-fixed mark/ That looks upon tempests and is never shaken" (Shakespeare 5-6). Again, Shakespeare reinforces the importance of his theory. Love must not be taken lightly or trifled with, in its truest form it is a blazing seal upon the hearts of those who know it. Once someone is in love, they can not move on or change the object of their affection. Similarly, someone who is not in love is unable to fabricate the kind of devotion which such passion demands. It is this sense of definite, separate, and opposing archetypes which is the foundation of "Sonnet 116."
Shakespeare proceeds to elaborate on the duality which inherently accompanies a love of this magnitude. He proclaims that "It is the star to every wand'ring bark" (Shakespeare 7). Here the thematic power of the battle between light and dark is employed to solidify the writer's previous conviction concerning love. The imagery of a solitary, weather-beaten ship drifting aimlessly through the inky night parallels the life of a man who wanders through life without ever loving anyone. However, there is hope. Just as a bright, piercing star can guide a decrepit boat toward the shores of salvation, so can love bring meaning to the life of a lost soul. Just like ...

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