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

How Do I love thee?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English Assignment How Do I love thee? This poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of many she penned for her husband Robert Browning. Using the basic form of an Italian sonnet with its fourteen lines and strict rhyme scheme - she manages to produce a surprisingly passionate poem. The poet begins with the question, "How do I love thee?"-and it is this which sets the mood of the sonnet, as she tries to quantify, and articulate the depth of her feelings towards her husband. She uses biblical references and religious similes throughout the verse, comparing and equating her love to be as unconditional and pure -as like unto God's. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height, In these few lines, the poet succeeds in conveying the purest, most unconditional love possible, within the boundaries of man; even going as far as to declare her love as the sole reason for her existence in the last line of this stanza. ...read more.

Middle

Although you could argue that it is written from a selfish perspective, in that she only speaks of her love, her feelings-you have to bear in mind that in Victorian society, women lived their lives solely through their husbands. The middle-class ladies didn't work, and didn't have a life outside their homes. They dedicated all of their time, energies and passions into keeping their men happy and contented; and in return, were loved, pampered and protected from the harsh realities of life. Even though this idea of total subjection and passivity, wouldn't have a hope of success in today's society, the level of trust and commitment these two "Romantic Poets" apparently share, could be the ideal that all couples should aspire to. In sharp contrast to Browning idealistic and spiritual love poetry of the 1800s, Seamus Heaney's Twice Shy uses an altogether more contemporary and realistic style of prose too describe love in the 20th century. ...read more.

Conclusion

Or because of Heaney's exquisite mastery of the English language, can be taken as an emotive analogy, describing the emotional cost of failed love; with all the fears and doubts felt by those attempting to find love second time around laid bare. Because the title chosen by the author was Twice Shy, and not, for example First Date. I believe that the poet deliberately worked this piece so the audience would question and find its inner depths, and maybe recognize themselves within it. This work thrills me, as it is the first time I have ever read poetry and have been moved, excited and inspired to discover the unspoken meaning behind another persons speech. Whilst Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem is recognized as a classic, Seamus Heaney's sublime use of word, phrase and analogy, has enabled me to realize that poetry is an art form - one that I will no longer be afraid to immerse myself in, as I now realize I'm intelligent enough to understand it. Jacqueline Ewing 07 April 2003 ...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. comaprrison of La Belle Dame Sans Merci and a trampwoman

    pulls out a knife and kills John. This could either be out of jealousy or just to keep him away from his wife. In La Belle Dame Sans Merci the knight has a dream "I saw pale kings, and princes too, Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; who cry'd--La belle Dame sans merci hath thee in thrall!

  2. Comparison of 'How do I love thee?' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and 'A Birthday' ...

    has got 14 lines, making it a sonnet poem, whereas 'A Birthday' has 16 lines, making a long stanza, but not a sonnet. This is because all sonnet poems have to have 14 lines. Another main way in which the poems are very different is that they are both describing totally different types of loves.

  1. Love Poetry

    The moods and tones of both poems totally differ from each other. On one hand, Eileen McAuley's 'The Seduction' has a negative mood and on the other hand, Andrew Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress has a positive mood (overall). These fit in with the ideas that the poet's are trying to put across to the readers.

  2. Love and loss. The poems that I have chosen to compare and contrast in ...

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem, How Do I Love Thee? begins with a rhetorical question that is the same as the title of the poem. This accentuates the theme of the poem and gets the reader more involved with the poem as the reader might imagine possible phrases that the poet may use in the poem.

  1. The presentation of love (and loss) in How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth ...

    Remember fixates on the parting of a lover. Remember is a petrarchan sonnet as is How Do I Love Thee. The fact that it is of an Italian origin explains the theme of love, but this poem is somewhat different to the conventional love poem.

  2. Seamus Heaney - Twice Shy Commentary

    Primitive love and sexual attraction are keys to this poem as well. The setting is cleverly situated - Heaney masterfully interweaves time and location to provide an precise description of the characters' thoughts and emotions. He chose the spring (the season of love, or as the French would put it - la saison de l'amour)

  1. Love Poetry

    'A Birthday' is about new life and 'Remember' is about death. These next four poems will show us different sides of love such as physical love and dominating love and how physical appearances could be deceiving. 'How Do I Love Thee?'

  2. Attitudes to love and marriage in 'How Do I Love Thee?', 'Remember', and 'When ...

    They were so in love; to prove this, when Victoria's husband died, she was utterly heart broken and she promised herself that she would wear black from then on for rest of her life. The attitude in all three of the poems is rather similar to Queen Victoria's strong feeling of love.

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