Here, you will find a summary and questions/answers to the poem “Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds” by William Shakespeare which is a part of the Class 12 syllabus for students studying under Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE).
Summary of Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds: One of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets, ‘Let me not to the Marriage of True Minds’ describes the qualities of true love. The poet says in the poem that true lovers cannot be hindered by obstacles since they are united by love. It never changes, even when change is possible. It does not submit to the power of its annihilator. As such, the poet claims that it is steadfast and constant beyond comparison and it is never true love that submits to anyone.
Through a comparison between true love and the sun and the pole star, which remain constant and guide ships in the unknown ocean, the poem’s theme is fully developed. True love does not succumb to life’s difficulties and guides lovers throughout their lives. As the sun and the pole star are eternal and unchanging, so too is real love.
According to Shakespeare, time is a universal destroyer that destroys everything except true love. Time is compared to a farmer. Crops are reaped with a sickle by a farmer. Likewise, time erodes the physical beauty of a person. As for true love, it is not within the sickle’s reach. Time has no effect on it. The depth of love, like the worth and potential of a guiding star, is impossible to understand completely. Ideal love and the North Star are incomprehensible to humans. Quantifying them would be impossible. Love, or spiritual love, is not affected by death, decay, and the destruction of time. For lovers, love is constant, immortal, and a source of guidance in life.
Lastly, the poet makes a claim. He insists that he will admit that he is not a poet and that no one in the world ever loved if he is proved wrong in his claims.
A. Read the lines from the poem and answer the questions
1. Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,…
a. What does the poet mean by ‘true minds’?
b. Why is the poet not ready to admit any kind of hindrances in love?
c. Why, according to the poet, can love not be altered?
Answer: (a) ‘True Minds’ refers to the marriage of two pure-minded true lovers who are in love with each other.
(b) The Poet is not ready to admit any kind of hindrances in love as he feels nothing should come in between true lovers who are already married and happily settled.
(c) According to the poet, love cannot be altered because true love is not susceptible to time and can stand the test of time. It is constant and no one can change the love that is true.
3. If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever Lov’d.
a. What is the ‘error’ the poet is referring to?
b. What shall be the consequences if the poet is proved wrong?
c. Does the poet seem to think he might be wrong? Have you ever been extremely sure of something in life? When was it? Were you proved right or wrong?
Answer: (a) The ‘error’ the poet is referring to is his description of the nature of true love.
(b) The poet is absolutely sure about his representation of true love and if anyone can prove the poet wrong, then he will give up his writing. He says he should not be considered a writer and no one has ever experienced true love.
(c) No, the poet is absolutely sure about his representation of true love. His belief emphasises the truth of what he believes in which makes it impossible to challenge his opinion.
Write the remaining part yourself
B. Think and answer in about 120 words.
1. The poet has, throughout the poem, told us what love is not. Do you agree with his profound description of love? Express your opinions.
Answer: The poem “Let me not to the marriage of
true minds” written by William Shakespeare is about love in its most ideal form. According to the poet, true love can never change with the passage of time and is never shaken and I agree with his description of love. He says love acts as a guiding star showing the direction to the true lovers. The nature of true love always remains unchanged and unaltered.
The Poet rightly says that “love is not love” if it changes with the passage of time or under any circumstances. Love does not pander to the will of time although physical appearances might change with the passage of time. Lastly, he says he should not
be considered a writer and no one has ever experienced true love if he is proven wrong.
3. How is the central idea of the poem presented through different images?
Answer: The Poem ’Let me not to the Marriage of the True minds’ by William Shakespeare is a beautiful sonnet that describes the nature of true love.
According to him, love that is true remains constant through difficulties and lasts forever. He uses a number of images to present love in its purest form. These include time, love, and the nature of relationships. In the fourteen lines of this sonnet, he delves into what true love is and whether or not it’s real. He uses a metaphor to compare love to a star
that’s always present and never changes. He is so confident in this opinion that he asserts no man has ever loved before if he’s wrong. Shakespeare also brings in elements of time into the poem. He emphasizes the fact that time knows no boundaries and even if the people in the relationship change, the love doesn’t.
Extras/additional questions and answers/solutions
1. Why has the poet used so many ‘negatives’ to make his point?
Answer: “Negatives” are an effective way to prove a point. It accentuates the other side of the coin to highlight the positive attributes of the statement. By presenting all of the negative aspects of love, the poet proves that love is a thing that is permanent and transcendent of beauty.
2. What does the line ‘I never writ, no man ever loved’ suggest?
Answer: It implies that if the poet is proven wrong about these love thoughts, he will retract everything he has written, and no man has ever loved.
8. What is the poet’s assertion in the couplet of this sonnet?
Answer: The couplet expresses the poet’s deep feelings about the nature of true love. Shakespeare asserts that if anybody could prove him wrong about true love, he would admit that he is neither a poet nor have any people in the world ever loved anyone. This couplet concludes the poem and logically completes it.