• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the atitudes towards love in

Extracts from this document...


Love is an uncontrollable emotion experienced by everybody at some time. There are many different types of love, whether it's between mother and child, friends, lovers or a shop-a-holic and her credit card. Many poets have written on the subject of love and tried to capture the essence of the indescribable feeling. William Shakespeare discusses romantic, eternal love in "Shall I Compare Thee...?" whereas John Clare addresses the issue of unrequited love in "First Love." Contrasting with these ideas of admiration and romantic love is John Donne's "The Flea," where romance is by-passed and seduction and lust clearly the sole motivators. In Robert Browning's "Porphyria's Lover," the tone of the poem is darker, addressing issues of obsessive love and jealousy. The poems all discuss issues that are present today in love and this makes the theme of love universal, indicating everybody can relate to the feelings and experiences. "Shall I Compare Thee...?" by William Shakespeare is a sonnet. It describes a man's love and admiration for a woman. He says he is immortalizing their love by putting his feelings into words because "so long as men can breathe or eyes can see" people will be able to read this poem and know of his love for this woman. ...read more.


John Donne's, "The Flea," greatly contrasts both "Shall I Compare Thee...?" and "First Love," as there is no mention of love or admiration, the theme of this piece is purely seduction and lust. The narrator of this piece is a man who is trying to persuade a woman to have sexual intercourse with him. The poem is made up of three stanzas, each of which contains a different plea for the woman to do as he wishes. In the first stanza the man is trying to say that losing your virginity is not a major occurrence saying "how little that which thou deny'st me is," and as it has already happened, by the flea biting them both-allowing their bloods to mingle-they may as well do it properly (it was commonly thought in the 16th century that when you had sex your bloods mixed). In the second stanza the man changes tactics, talking of religion and marriage, using arguments such as "this flea is you and I, and this our marriage bed, and marriage temple is." In the third stanza the woman has killed the flea and the man is trying to make her feel guilty about killing the innocent flea and saying if they had sex it would make it alright "cruel and sudden....purpled thy nail in blood of innocence." ...read more.


As the lover realises Porphyria does love him he becomes "happy and proud" the repetition of "mine," clearly portrays possessiveness. As he decides to kill her and actual does so the tone of the poem does not change, he states the event of murder without regret of feeling "...and strangled her," the lover is in control of his emotions, although he thinking irrationally; "no pain felt she, I am quite sure she felt no pain." This indicates a strong possibility that the lover is insane. Browning uses fallacy for the weather, "the wind... tore the elm-tops...and did its worst to vex the lake." This piece is an excellent representation of obsessive love, the lovers mind is occupied purely with the thought of making her his own and no one else's he believes Porphyria is an object rather than a person so he has no problem killing her to eternalize their love. The four pieces show very different aspects of love and despite having major differences two have some similarities, with "First Love," and "Shall I Compare Thee...?" both clearly express admiration and wonder. "Porphyria's Lover" and "The Flea," are not similar to the other poems or each other they do not speak of love kindly if at all. Compare and contrast the ways in which the four poets present the theme of love-William Shakespeare, John Donne, John Clare and Robert Browning. Natalie Freeman 11sii, Miss Sommers. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Love Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Love Poetry essays

  1. "The Flea" by John Donne is

    words to link phrases together "this flea is you and I, and this Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;" The poem is in standard english at that period in time with no dialogues. Dunne is also very sucessful with the emphasis on the words he uses.

  2. 'Why would someone wait until marriage to have sex? What benefit is there? Why ...

    It is to abstain from intercourse until marriage, and then wed and be faithful to an uninfected partner. It is a concept that was widely endorsed in society until the 1960s (and look what's happened since then..........) 'What are the statistics as to real-life (typical)

  1. "The Flea", a witty poem of seduction and conceit, taken from John Donne's "Songs ...

    The poem is not conventional nor is it contemporary. This is shown in the rhythmic scheme and the variety of tone Donne implies, both of which are important to the imagery in the poem. The poem "Song" is very different compared to the poem "The Flea."

  2. First Love' and 'How Do I Love Thee?' are both very personal experiences as ...

    through this we can understand the veiled warnings that the Duke may be hinting to the envoy. By explaining the consequences the Duchess faced, the Duke may be warning the Count that he does not want the same thing from his new bride-to-be.

  1. 'The Flea' written by John Donne in the seventeenth century. 'First Love' which was ...

    The quote portrays that the atmosphere was starting to get very sexual, because of the clever chosen words indicating the sexual nature. As we progress through the poem, the narrator states, 'Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare'. The quote indicates his persuasive nature once again, he is persuading

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

    The attitudes shown in this poem are extremely different to the other pre-twentieth century poems and show that John Clare must have led a different life, or had different experience of love, to gain these views. The poems "How Do I Love Thee" and "A Birthday" are much more joyous and express the tremendous happiness love can bring.

  1. House of the Spirits, Major Motifs

    He loses control because Clara has proven him wrong so he strikes her so hard that she loses some teeth and her strength to walk. Immediately after, Clara and Blanca leave him and Clara removes her wedding band and stops using her married name.

  2. How do Shakespeare, Donne and Marvel treat the subject of love in their poetry?

    The double entendre of "vegetable love should grow" adds a bit of humour to the poem but also shows that love is natural, organic and growing. The nature of love described in 'Shall I Compare Thee' says that love is eternal."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work