Theme: Love & Loyalty

Type: Sonnet


  • Shakespeare is Britain’s most famous poet/playwright
  • Sonnet suggests that love is forever -this didn’t conform with the idea of the time – instead of obedience/subservience it focuses on faithfulness, forgiveness and equality


  • Compares (simile) love to the North Star – eternal and unchanging
  • Paradox – he says if he is wrong, he has never written anything and no man has ever loved, but he has written and men have loved and so he is right.
  • Uses enjambment to move the piece along

Symbolism and Imagery

  • Marriage is present from the very first line.
  • Idealistic vision of marriage – it is based on a deep understanding between two equals
  • The poem’s central extended metaphor if the comparison of love to the North Star – which doesn’t change position in the sky and love is present when situations change.
  • Shakespeare suggests that love leads us through life like the North Star led sailors
  • Reference to “tempests” on the sea represent arguments in love relationships


  • The sonnet gives an optimistic, idealized view on love and is seen as a powerful, unstoppable force of nature
  • According to Shakespeare, loyalty is a key to true love and asserts that the mark of true love is persistence.


  • Poem is a sonnet – 14 lines – with regular meter and iambic pentameters.
  • Shakespeare invented his own rhyme scheme (ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG) known as the Shakespearean or English sonnet
Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Sonnet 116 – William Shakespeare: Poem Analysis," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019,

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