THE SONNET PROJECT’S INTERPRETATIONS OF SONNETS 116, 117 AND 118. To me the most important thing about The Sonnet Project’s interpretations of Sonnets 116, 117 and 118 is that the characters in each sonnet are different—this is not a continuing story. Sonnet 116 is set in Brooklyn Heights with a view of Manhattan and is spoken by a woman to a man who is standing under an umbrella with her in a heavy rain. Sonnet 117 is whispered by a different woman in the whispering gallery in Grand Central Station. She and a man miss connecting with each other, although this may not be the final resolution. For Sonnet 118, the couples of the Project’s 117 and 116 are gone. A lone young man, miserable, stands in a park (the Bartow-Pell Mansion Gardens in the Bronx) and speaks the lines. At one point he smears his face with lipstick and then wipes it off.
When I read Sonnets 116, 117 and 118, I had not imagined the particular scenarios that The Sonnet Project visualizes for them, but they confirm my belief that the sonnets are: “expressions of different moods that can be experienced by a variety of people at different times in their lives”.