John Green’s Sonnet Video

Enjoy John Green’s great video to help review our work with Sonnet 18 and Sonnet 130. You may understand some of the themes that we processed in class better by viewing this video. This may also help you understand a new theme that exists in the sonnets. Perhaps the theme that is clearest because of John Green’s delivery as well as the images he supplies from Elizabethan culture is the idea that “Human life is temporary but that poetry is forever.” The only point where I disagree with John Green was Shakespeare’s arrogance in his work. I think that Shakespeare, like most artist, was extremely confident, which is a more positive way to appreciate arrogance. Note, too, that John Green does not waste a second talking about the conspiracy theories that Shakespeare did not author all of his plays. We’ll get into that research more in the coming weeks.

For you comment below, let’s have each student read and reread Sonnet 116, “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment.” Then identify the most important poetic device in the poem and explain how that device illuminates one of our recurring themes from our sonnet readings. Recall that previous notes have the devices in red ink, and themes are illuminated in green ink. Compose your explanation in Standard English and type in a word document so that you can do a grammar and spelling check.


About Bill Sullivan

I am an English teacher working with great students at Suffield Academy. I also teach seniors in various project-based learning environments. Some of the #PBL topics included global issues, such as Pandemics, Climate Change, and Water; more recently I have asked students to research and identify topics important to our school community and their generation. We curate these topics with a #StudentCenteredPBL. For the past eleven years, I also created a driving question for a class to research a local history mystery and present their findings in a community program partnering with our local historical society. These topics encompass researching the lives of enslaved individuals who were contributors to the foundation of our community.
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40 Responses to John Green’s Sonnet Video

  1. Isabelle Ricke says:

    Sonnet 116 talks about love and how it does not change it makes a mark. He uses many symbols throughout the sonnet but the most important one is time. Time does not alter love. “Love’s not Time’s fool” Over time love will still be there. “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,” He says that if love does not withstand “the edge of doom” then he has never written and no man has ever loved. Clearly, he has written and men have loved. This is Shakespeare saying that he is obviously correct when stating love is not altered by time. This symbol of time reflects the recurring theme of his sonnets lasting forever, but this time it is different. HIs sonnets lasting forever is his support for his argument that love is not altered by time. The forever lasting sonnets represent love.

    • Maggy says:

      We liked the way symbolism is used in your response in order to support the immortality of love and sonnets. The use of examples really helped us understand your point of view better. Your response gives a different perspective on the sonnet.

  2. ashleys1617 says:

    The most important poetic device in Sonnet 116 is the use of metaphors. In the beginning of the second quatrain, Shakespeare writes “It is the star to every wandering bark,”. This comparison is showing that love will never die and is ever lasting. But, in reality, a star is already dead and what we see is just the remnants of light that has remained over so many years. This could disprove Shakespeare’s theory or simply make it stronger. If the star has already died and the light is still showing, it is eternal. This theme of everlasting love is the main theme throughout the entire sonnet and is highlighted in this line.

    • riley1617 says:

      Dear Ashley,
      We really liked how you used a real life example to compare what Shakespeare wrote to present life. We agree with what you wrote about how metaphors are the most important poetic device because it is what all of us wrote about as well. The metaphors really shape the sonnet and make the theme of love stand out.
      Riley Becca and Casey

  3. tannerm1516 says:

    In the sonnet “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment” William Shakespeare uses the poetic device of metaphors to illuminate the theme of love. “It is the star to every wandering bark.” Stars have been used for navigation from the earliest of times and are a constant in life, they also are a symbol of the unknown as well as good luck. Shakespeare uses stars as a metaphor for love to represent the guidance, consistence, and well being love brings.

  4. allihayden says:

    Shakespeare uses the personification to give love a mind of its own in Sonnet 116. Love has been a common theme throughout the Sonnets we have gone over, and this particular Sonnet gives love its own personality. He says that love, “looks on tempests and is never shaken”. He is saying that love has the ability to look and not be shaken however how can this be true if love is just a feeling. It is only true when Shakespeare gives it the power to have its own mind by personifying it.

  5. jerryt17 says:

    This is a poem about the constancy of true love, which is fixed and eternal. True love will not change when the object of love changes. Personification is a poetic device that is frequently employed in Sonnet 116. In the third stanza, personification is used to dramatize the battle between “love” and “time”, “love’s not Time’s fool.” Time can take away one’s beauty and youth, but not love. In the second line of third stanza, time is being related to death, and love still wins. In the third line, time is fleeting, but love remains strongly. The poet smartly utilizes personification to depict one’s aging and lose of beauty, and to eulogize the long-lasting love.

    • Jackson Bischoping says:

      This is very good because it discusses how love is fixed and how true love will not change.

      • Jackson Bischoping says:

        This comment focuses on how love is fixed and how true love will not change. It is also very insightful they way he describes the personification of love.

  6. riley1617 says:

    In sonnet 116 Shakespeare the common theme of “love” is brought up. When he discusses “love is not love” he is saying that love is not real unless it is the same when the person leaves. Love has an everlasting effect. The metaphor’s in this sonnet really connect the poem to bring out emotion and emphasis on the word love which is also a reoccurring theme in Shakespeare’s sonnets.

    • tannerm1516 says:

      Similarly to Ashley and me, Riley reflected on the theme of love. Her chosen quotation was different than ours, yet had the same meaning and showed the permanence of love. Real love does not change, as Riley says is it an “everlasting effect”.

  7. robj1313 says:

    In sonnet 116, Shakespeare uses repetition to get tell how love lasts forever. This is clear when Shakespeare uses lines such as, “Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove.”. He also goes on about how love is eternal, and saying there should be no restrictions on love. It is forever in you, like a stamp on your heart. While this sonnet is about the young man, he tells how if what he feels is not real, then no man has ever loved.

    • 17ljl says:

      FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!! You found fantastic quotes to put evidence into the piece that you wrote. The idea of no restrictions on love is very original and you did a good job.

  8. Nadezda says:

    William Shakespeare fills the 116th sonnet with metaphors. Love is compared to a star that shows a man the right way, that lights up a pathway but the strength of the “star’s” influence on one’s life is incomprehensible. Stars shine bright when there are no clouds in the sky and only then. Nature is unpredictable and a man can never be sure when the stars will shine. Stars are not in control, so as love.
    Time is likened to a clown or a fool. Because time does not matter in terms of love. Love will survive no matter how much time goes by. Shakespeare writes that “Love in not love which alters when it alteration finds”, meaning that The Great Love does not fade away or disappear easily.

  9. Maggy says:

    In Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare, love is the ongoing theme. Shakespeare does a good job of making the real meaning of the sonnet come through at the end. He used allegories to describe that love has no time limit, it is forever. By stating “If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved” he compared love to his works of art. This underlined the fact that love is timeless, like his poems and that if he is proven wrong, no one has ever loved or been loved.

  10. 17ljl says:

    Sonnet 116 is about how love is sought after and how it is only sought after in what could be described as its “true love” form. It also describes how love in this “true” form should be strong, unbreakable and everlasting, within lines like “bends with the remover to remove”. The reader then goes on to see how love is timeless, and by using personification in lines like “Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks, within his sickle’s bending compass come” Shakespeare gives Time the ability to remove good looks from object of love, but not the feeling of love from one another. Finally in the last 2 lines of the sonnet, to seal his belief that all “true” love should be like this, Shakespeare seals it off with the lines “If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved”. These lines state that if true love is proven to be anything other than what was just described, that he will revoke his words on love, but continue to state that no man has ever “truly” loved before.

  11. beccacollins says:

    In Sonnet 116, the most common and important poetic device is metaphors. It is a recurring theme throughout all the sonnets we have read. Shakespeare uses metaphors so often because he has an incredible ability to “paint a picture” with his words in the readers head by comparing two unlike objects in a way that it makes sense. One line from this poem that has metaphors is “O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.” I had to look up the translations of what some of these words meant but what Shakespeare was describing was how a lighthouse during a storm will stand tall and not fall. As well as how he compared love to a star guiding a ship. In his past Sonnets, love is a common theme. Whether it is comparing love, defining love, or hating love, Shakespeare will find a way to weave it into each Sonnet.

  12. Jackson Bischoping says:

    The most effective poetic device in sonnet 116 is the hyperbole on line 6 where the sonnet shifts to discussing how love should look instead of what love is not. This line says “That looks on tempests and is never shaken” and is says simply, that love is not shaken even by a large storm. This large storm could represent anything in a relationship. It could be a large fight or jealousy. But what Shakespeare is saying is that true love can withstand even the toughest challenges.

  13. Tyreek Scott-Grayson says:

    In sonnet 116 William Shakespeare expresses a lot of love. He tries to express how strong love is and if love is true then it won’t be lost no matter what may happen. Love is unbreakable even if someone tries to come in and take it. He uses metaphors to compare the North Star with Love. Like how the North Star leads people to where they need to go, love leads people to the better things in life like happiness.

  14. evashae says:

    Sonnet 116 discusses the vision of beauty and the true meaning of love. In the third quadrant, Shakespear says “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. ” this is a personification of love, he is saying that true love does not end when traditional beauty fades, but is everlasting and immortal. Love should not be conditional on beauty, and this is a fact that cannot be disproved.

  15. caseykap says:

    In sonnet 116, I immediately remembered the line, “Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds, it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken, Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom,” to a TV series that I live by. I have seen every single episode of One Tree Hill at least 5 times and knew I had heard this famous line somewhere besides my English homework An important poetic device that is displayed throughout the whole sonnet is personification. Love is given traits such as the ability to be altered but then later proved that love cannot be altered because it lasts forever “to the edge of doom”.

  16. Lea says:

    Love is the main theme in the famous Sonnet 116. William Shakespeare writes about how beauty changes, but, love is constant and forever. Love is, according to him, not dependent on circumstances, but everlasting and permanent. He questions what true love is, by trying to define what love is and what love is not. In the sonnet he used a various of poetic devices to express that love never fades, and the power and strength of love. Metaphors is one important poetic device that is used to empathize that. By writing “It is the star to every wandering bark”, the author underlines that love should serve as guidance, both in people´s everyday life, but also when facing challenging times and lack of direction.

  17. Caleb Wurster says:

    Shakespeare uses the poetic device “metaphor” when he says “It is the star to every wand’ring bark.” He is comparing love to a guiding force such as a star. It guides the “bark” which is supposed to represent our wandering hearts. Every person wanders, looking for a purpose or meaning. Love is one of the guiding forces to direct this “wandering bark” to its true purpose.

  18. Madeline Kauffman says:

    Sonnet 116 is talking about how love takes time. Shakespeare is describing how love in the moment isn’t important. If you have a chance for the real deal, take it. Shakespeare is bringing out the true meaning. He does this by saying love, “looks on tempests and is never shaken.” Using personification here, “love” is such a big part of life, it moves. How can love move if it is just an emotion in one’s mind? He also uses repetition to bring out what point he is trying to prove even more. “Which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove.” Using repetition will strengthen his point as well. In this sonnet, love is very powerful.

  19. ninochen says:

    Shakespeare celebrates repetition to show his love view in sonnet 116. He has
    pure, sincere, and sensitive thoughts for love: “It is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.” Shakespeare metaphors love as star and a mark, it’s both unforgettable and noticeable. Love is everlasting and nothing can measure it. His worldview for love is romantic, he trusts true love which is really poetic and utopian.

  20. Shane Pornprinya says:

    The most important poetic device in the poem is imagery, specifically in the lines “Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle compass come.” By using the word “rosy” to describe lips and cheeks, and “bending sickle compass” to describe the deterioration of that beauty, this quote emphasizes that though life fades through time, love does not. The use of imagery not only illuminates the theme of love, but also lightly touch on another Shakespeare’s recurring theme: Poetry is eternal while life is not. As with Sonnet 18 which describes a person, Sonnet 116 describes love which makes love eternal (so long as this sonnet lives).

  21. Bryce Butler says:

    The most important poetic device in Sonnet 116 is what is known as a “symbol”. In this sonnet, the symbol that Shakespeare uses is love. For Shakespeare, love is a symbol that represents ever lasting time which is explained through the line “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks.” This is proving the theme that love lasts forever and that it will always stand the test of time. Shakespeare honestly believes that love does last forever because he ends the sonnet with saying that if it in fact does not, then he never said otherwise because he does not want to deal with the aftermath.

  22. liz says:

    During sonnet 116 Shakespeare incorporates a personification of love which could be perceived as ironic considering the context. He says that “Love’s not Time’s fool,” painting love to be a person. Yet this notion is immediately opposed within the declaration because love cannot be both personified and not feel the effects of time. All humans are subject to the effects of time, yet love is not. While this statement reaffirms the recurring theme of immortality of romantic characteristics, it also offers an immediate contradiction to the personification creating irony in the line.

    • 17ahc says:

      Liz compares the sonnet to a human whom time effects, but Shakespeare argues how love is not. She goes on to explain how this is ironic because love is immortal and humans are not. Liz’s comment made us see a different and interesting point of view on the sonnet. Good job Liz.
      Alexis,Isabella, Daria and Nora

  23. In sonnet 116 Shakespeare uses the poetic device of personification as he writes about love. Shakespeare gives love human thoughts and emotions, as he describes the way it is never ending. He writes how “love alters not with his brief hours and weeks” and how “within his bending sickle’s compass come”. Shakespeare strengthens the depth and complexity of his poem by personifying love and creates a new and unique romantic sonnet.

  24. daria says:

    In Sonnet 116, “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment”, Shakespeare presents the idea of endless love. The opening has two potential meanings. He is either saying that he would not admit that it is love when it’s something that depends on such things as time and difficulties or he is saying that he would not want to be a barrier to someones love. He is saying that, “Love’s not Times fool”, to put in perspective how big it really is. “Love alerts not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.” Shakespeare is implying that unlike lust, love is not circumstantial. The only other thing that lasts forever in his opinion is poetry. He uses sonnets to express everlasting feelings believing that poetry is immortal.

  25. 17ahc says:

    In Sonnet 116 Shakespears use many poetic devices to highlight the theme of love throughout the sonnet. The most important poetic device that is put to use is personification. Shakespeare uses personification to help the reader give human like characterisitics to inanimate objects in the poem. This allows the reader to grasp a better understanding of the object and its abstarct qualities. Shakespeare writes “Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks “. This quotation allows the reader to give the word ‘love’ human characteristics and illuminates the romanticism throughout the sonnet.

  26. Sergey Morozov says:

    As he did in Sonnet 130, Shakespeare takes the theme of true love (as opposed to fake one) and argues with the all-excepted thought. While in 130 he made a point that beauty is not artificial, here he states that love is not transient or momentary.

    The main poetic device which helps Shakespeare emphasize his point about the eternity and immortality of love is personification. The author applies characters of a strong-willed, unbreakable and confident person to love: “… looks on tempests and is never shaken”, “Love’s not Time’s fool…”. This feeling, as viewed by Shakespeare, is capable of enduring the most bitter fate — and this would not be as clear if he did not personify it. As a strong person stands up to unthoughtful tendencies of society (just like John Shakespeare stood up to religious revolution), love is able to resist the crazy pace of the world: “bears it out even to the edge of doom”.

    Here, similarly to Sonnet 130, Shakespeare ends up by boldly showing confidence in what he is talking about: “If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.” This summarizes the impression the reader got from the poem and once again highlights Shakespeare’s point about love.

    • Shane Pornprinya says:

      Sergey argues that Shakespeare uses personification to argue that love is eternal. He mentions examples such as “love’s not Time’s fool” to argue that love is strong because it is able to resist the ever-revolving world around it.

  27. Andrew M says:

    In Sonnet 116, Shakespeare uses metaphor to compare love to the brilliance of a star. Love, according to Shakespeare, is the “star to every wand’ring bark”, permanent and bright. Like a star, it can be a beacon of light to a lost soul or an eternal, burning flame connecting two people. For as long as man exists, love, like the stars, will illuminate the darkness of the human soul.

  28. Jae Woo Lee says:

    For sonnet 16, one of the most important poetic devices used is overtone. “If this be error and upon me prov’d, I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d” (Lines 13 – 14) With this line, Shakespeare wanted to emphasis to his lover that his love was truthful and most she will ever get. Instead of saying directly that he loves her, Shakespeare used overtone lines that shows his passion.

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