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Compare the way the poets write about love and relationships in "Sonnet" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and "Sonnet 138" by William Shakespeare

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Introduction

Compare the way the poets write about love and relationships in "Sonnet" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and "Sonnet 138" by William Shakespeare A sonnet is traditionally a love poem, with 14 lines and generally ending with a couplet. The two sonnets I am comparing discuss the nature of love, but portray two completely different relationships between lovers. While Browning's poem is an ode to a pure, simple and almost childlike love, Shakespeare's is a critique of his relationship, in which both sides play a game of double-bluff. This poem mocks the idea of true love. We sense simply from the titles that, while Browning's "Sonnet" is an expression of heartfelt emotions, Shakespeare's "Sonnet 138" is just another meaningless work out of many, perhaps like his mistresses. Browning's work is extremely feminine and is almost certainly about her husband, as she was married, as opposed to the masculine view of women in Shakespeare's era that mistresses were disposable. ...read more.

Middle

He cannot be angry with her for lying to him because he reciprocates in the matter. He is happy in the situation, and believes that his lover thinks he is na�ve and "unlearned in the world's false subtleties". He seems to fear being alone and not being able to obtain another mistress. This is in sharp contrast to Browning's sense of security with her lover, and feeling of openness and honesty. There is a quality of immortality to her love that is suggested in the phrase, "I shall but love thee better after death". The nature of the two relationships differ a great deal ; we sense that , while Browning conveys a love that is very spiritual and uncomplicated, Shakespeare's relationship is more sexual without much actual love.Religious words and imagery, such as "Grace", "Praise", "Faith", "Candlelight" and "God" are used to reinforce the feeling of purity in "Sonnet". ...read more.

Conclusion

She could therefore see her husband as a father figure as he protects her and gives her stability. On the other hand, language is used to the opposite effect in Shakespeare's "Sonnet 138". The childhood aspect of this poem is related to gullibility. He makes use of negative words such as "lies", "unjust", "untutor'd" and "false" to show that he does not believe in love. Using these words in rhyming couplets - "lies" and "subtleties" - even more pronounces the negative imagery. The sonnet out of the two that I prefer is "Sonnet 138" by Shakespeare. This is because he has made a break from the traditional style of sonnets, which usually exhault the ideal of love and describe it in all it's beauty. He takes the idea of love and almost mocks it, satirising the orthodox style of other sonnets. More complex language is used within the sonnet, unlike Browning's simple prose. The impact of both of the poems is that they make us think about love in very different ways. Zo� Molyneux Form 116 ...read more.

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