William Shakespeare

by Shanz

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Below, I am pasting the poetry a poem by of William Shakespeare. I couldn't don't understand the meaning of the first verse. Could you please explain it to me? Thanks

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.
Hi Shanz,
Shakespeare can be pretty complicated, even for native speakers. :) I will explain "my interpretation" of this poem. Poetry can be interpreted in many different ways but I believe my interpretation is pretty standard.

Here are my thoughts and interpretations of the verse

The overall theme, like in many of Shakespeare’s poetry is that Love concurs all and is forever constant and stable.

“The marriage of true minds” could be equated to love. So Shakespeare states that he does not want to admit impediments or faults regarding love.

Love can not be called love if it stops or changes when faced with a new or difficult situation. Love is constant.

Love does not bend or try to move out of the way when faced with a difficult or dangerous situation.

Love stands still…an ever-fixed mark…something that does not move or is permanent…in this case it is a star…a mark that does not move. Light in the sky that looks down on the earth and is not affected by the storms and wind below.

Love looks at horrible storms or situations and is never weakened or filled with fear (shaken).

I hope that helps you understand the poem more.

Have a great day Shanz!

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May 30, 2009
Some comments
by: John Taylor

I think you did very well in interpreting sonnet 116 for Shanz. But of course I cannot leave a good thing alone, and have a few comments.

First of all, you meant to say "Love conquers all." Don't you concur. I will now mispell a word and make a grammar mistake, because you know in a case like this, one always do.

Now, in the line(s) "Love is not love Which alters where it alteration finds, Nor bends with the remover to remove." I take it to mean that the one lover does not try to change the other, nor try to wipe out what lover 1 considers ugly character stains.

"It is the star to every wandering bark Whose worth?s unknown although its depth be taken" means that being loved helps the lover find his / her way (like a bark, or small ship), even though it may not be fully appreciated. This line really rings to someone who has lost a lover. I never really knew what I had until I lost it. I know that line isn't in Shanz' quote, but I had to add it.

Thanks for a pleasant moment. John

Feb 27, 2009
Thank you!
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for your corrections & explaination. It is wonderful to be here :)

Have a good day!

Feb 27, 2009
Enjambment vs. End-stopped Lines
by: Strictly English

I think the question was to understand the "first line", in which case it would be helpful to explain the difference between end-stopped lines and enjambment in poetry.

This line is an example of enjambment, which means the "line" itself is incomplete. You *can't* understand it unless you read to the "period" on the next line.

[Enjambment occurs when a line carries over from the preceding line. ]

Granted, even understanding this won't effortlessly unlock the poem, but it is a necessary piece of information if this questioner (Jambulingam) wants to read more poetry on his/her own.
Thanks for the great point! I took the question as asking about the entire stanza of the poem, because Jambulingam didn?t provide the whole poem, just the first portion. Actually, verse can be interpreted many ways.

1. (not in technical use) a stanza. (My case)
2. a succession of metrical feet written, printed, or orally composed as one line; one of the lines of a poem. (You're case)
4. a poem, or piece of poetry.

What about End-stopped lines? According to Poetry.com An end-Stop occurs when meaning and rhythm pause at the end of the line. Effective end-stopped lines will have strong end-words.

Thanks again for your comment!
Have a good day

Feb 27, 2009
William Shakespeare
by: Anonymous

Your explanation is excellent Diana! If I try to add anything that will amount to/ would be like taking coal to NewCastles.(Is 's" necessary with castle? Thank you and all the best for your good work.

Jambulingam Bangalore India.

Hi Jambulingam,

You are welcome! :) [No you don't need an "s" with castle]. Enjoy your weekend!


Feb 27, 2009
Anyone else have a different interpretation?
by: Diana Tower

I am just wondering if anyone would like to add anything to my interpretation. All comments are welcome. :)


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