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By referring closely to 5/6 poems from the collection show what differentattitudes are shown towards love.

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Introduction

'Love and Loss' coursework Laura Reid By referring closely to 5/6 poems from the collection show what different attitudes are shown towards love. Love is an emotion that has been felt by people throughout time. It is extremely difficult to put any strong emotion into words, but through the pre-twentieth century 'Love and Loss' poetry we are able to see various different attitudes shown towards love and the way that love is conveyed through relationships. The poems referred to in this essay are "First Love" by John Clare, "How Do I Love Thee" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "A Birthday" by Christina Rossetti, "A Woman to Her Lover" by Cristina Walsh and "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning. By studying the love and loss poetry, the poets lives and the cultures they lived in, it is easy to see why people have different perceptions of love. The poem "First Love" by John Clare reflects his attitudes towards love. It is a complex poem describing the physical and emotional affects of falling in love for the first time. In this poem, the narrator has experienced love at first sight and has feeling for nobody else. He says that "... my blood rushed to my face And took my sight away." This quotation describes one of the physical effects love brings; it shows that the poet is so fixated in one woman that he is blinded by everything else. It mirrors the clich´┐Ż 'blinded by love'. This shows that Clare feels that love can be for only one person at a time, as he is concentrating on nobody else. ...read more.

Middle

It is the sort of love that is felt between family members or friends. This lover is asking for nothing in return but just generously giving love. It appears that Barrett Browning believes there to be no loss to love, as though she will carry on loving forever and this is shown by the last line of the poem "-and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death." Usually the main loss in love is having to depart from one another at some point. However Barrett Browning has a very positive attitude to love and life, she doesn't believe that death creates a loss of love, rather that love becomes stronger after death. This poem describes a real love for someone than is being given and asking for nothing in return. The poem "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning is quite the opposite of "A Birthday" and "How Do I Love Thee?" It shows a selfish and possessive love. It is more a love for his possessions than the feeling of true love for a single person. The poem is set as a dramatic monologue with the duke's attitudes to his last duchess emerging throughout. The duke starts by describing a picture of his last duchess as a 'wonder' and offers his guest to look at her. This shows that he is pleased by the painting and wishes to show it off. He seems proud of his departed wife. The duke starts to describe how the duchess treated him. ...read more.

Conclusion

It shows that woman of the time could have a choice of lovers and this woman wants love to be 'co-equal' so that they can be partners in life. This is the best relationship and the love is true and fair, it is a very practical way of looking at a relationship. "How Do I Love Thee?" and "A Birthday" are extremely full of joyful love. "How Do I Love Thee?" describes how much she loves someone and it shows love to be totally selfless as she is asking for nothing in return. The writer explains that her love will be stronger after death, this shows an open attitude: that love is never ending and there is no loss of love from death. The final poem is "A Birthday", which I believe is describing the love that Christina Rossetti has for God. She uses language to portray beautiful imagery to try and express how she is feeling. This is a celebration of her love and her attitude is that love brings a person only joy. All the pre-twentieth poets lived different lives in different cultures and so there attitudes would have formed in different ways. However like most others they have all felt love in some way or experienced the jealousy and pain it can bring. Their love and loss poetry shows love in different forms, neither more true than the other but all just showing the different attitudes that people of different cultures have learnt or felt is true about love. ...read more.

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