“Sonnet CXVI” by William Shakespeare
impediments – obstacles
tempests – storms
sickle – a pole with a hook, used for farming grain
Questions and Answers
1. The second line of the sonnet contains which poetic device(s)?
“Admit impediments” is an example of assonance, consonance, and internal rhyme.
2. “It is the star to every wandering bark” is an example of what literary device?
The speaker is comparing love to a star that guides lost ships without using like or as, so it is a metaphor.
3. Why is “Time” capitalized in the ninth line of the poem?
The speaker/poet has capitalized “Time” to signify its place as a subject and personified noun, “he”. The mention of the sickle implies Father Time.
4. How sure is Shakespeare of his beliefs about love? Cite evidence in your own words to back up your statement.
Answers may vary. Example: In the couplet at the end of this sonnet, Shakespeare says if he is not correct, then he has never written, and no man has ever loved before. He is obviously certain beyond a doubt, since he has written and people have experienced love.
5. How does the tone of this sonnet compare to that in Sir Thomas Wyatt’s poem, “The Lover Showeth How He is Forsaken of Such as He Sometime Enjoyed”?
The tone of Sir Thomas Wyatt’s poem is uncertain, disappointed, frustrated, and even angry. He feels that love is transient, unfair, and something that cannot be trusted. The tone is depressing and dark. Shakespeare’s sonnet, on the other hand, reflects on love as something that is solid, strong, unbreakable, and trustworthy. The tone is positive and passionate.