Compare and Contrast of Sonnet 116 and Othello

Categories: Othello

What is love? Mr. Shakespeare tries his best to tackle this topic in Sonnet 116. Specifying that true love is not merely a physical beauty, because how one looks is something that goes away in time. Love is long lasting, that it "bears it out even to the edge of doom." (Sonnet 116 Lit Book) One can see that Shakespeare has durable roots in what he defines as "love", but do his positive beliefs in what love is represent the love displayed in his play Othello? The love in Othello seems so superficial, however perhaps there is more to it than what one sees while reading it.

In Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, he shares with the reader what his beliefs in love are. Shakespeare starts by saying "Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit obstacles." What he implies by this is that there should be nothing that stops two real minded people from being together. No matter the challenge, challenges, or weaknesses, real love can dominate all conditions.

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He continues to say the true love can not be modified with the withering of looks or body, by saying "Love is not love/ Which alters when it change finds."

Love does not change, ever! Even when a liked one is disloyal, one can not wander off far from the bounds of that marital relationship, it is long lasting, "It is a lighthouse/ That searches tempests and is never ever shaken." He goes on to state that loves worth can not be calculated, however the height of ones like can be felt.

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"Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks/ Within his flexing sickle's compass come", Shakespeare goes deeper than normal with this line, he states that love is eternal, and can not be influenced by time and area, however physical charm is at the grace of time, and death. Referring the sickle to the scythe of Death, and when death comes, one's charm will be forgotten, however the love you shared, will be remembered forever.

Shakespeare specifies love something that lasts until completion of one's days, not something that will alter in time. Shakespeare is so confident in his definition of love he ends the poem saying that if I am incorrect I reclaim everything I have actually ever composed, and no male has ever remained in love.

So does the love portrayed in Sonnet 116 compare to the love shown in Othello? In Othello Othello is in “love” with and married to Desdemona, but the jealousy placed in him by Iago overtakes him and kills her because he thought she was having an affair with Cassio. So obviously killing the he “loves” over a rumored affair, does not shine too kindly on the true affections of Othello towards Desdemona.

Shakespeare said in Sonnet 116 that true love will stand through the thick and thin, it will surpass doubts and give you the power to forgive and forget all wrongs your loved one has done. Perhaps it was Othellos quick temper that caused him to act so rashly killing his wife, or maybe it was the constant reminder of Iago of how he could rid these problems by just getting rid of them.

Iago played a huge role in the death of Desdemona, he is the whole reason that all of this came to happen. Iago plays the role jealousy in Othello one can see this from the very beginning. Very early into the story Iago’s jealousy of not getting selected for a promotion enrages him and causes him to hate Othello.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Compare and Contrast of Sonnet 116 and Othello. (2016, May 04). Retrieved from

Compare and Contrast of Sonnet 116 and Othello essay
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