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How Do Poets Before 1914 Write About Love?

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How Do Poets Before 1914 Write About Love? Gandhi once said that "where there is life there is love". Love is all around us and for that reason many poets write about it in their own individual ways and try to capture their own thoughts, feelings and experiences. Poets that wrote love poetry before 1914 include Shakespeare's 'Shall I Compare Thee..?' Robert Browning's 'Porphyria's Lover' and John Keats' 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci'. Although all three of the poems are completely different, they do have some similarities in their content. They all refer to the seasons even though they are used in different ways. In both Porphyria's Lover and La Belle Dame Sans Merci the winter weather is used as pathetic fallacy whereas Shakespeare uses summer as a comparison to his loved one. He finds many imperfections with summer, for example 'rough windes do shake the darling buds of Maie' (summer is too windy) and 'sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines' (sometimes the weather is too hot). ...read more.


Each poem is narrated in its own way from completely different viewpoints. For example, Shakespeare is very romantic and uses exaggerated imagery - 'and often is his gold complexion dim'd'- whereas Browning writes describing more the events that occurred It could be portrayed that Browning shows sympathy to the narrator as he writes about the deed of murdering Porphyria as an act of passion which somehow justifies itself. However, I think that he writes the crime "quietly" so more is left to the imagination and it has a more sinister, powerful impact on the reader. Both this poem and "Shall I compare thee" are written from just one point of view, whereas Keats writes a dialogue between two different people. 'O what can ail thee, knight at arms, so haggard and woe-begotten?' is answered with the reply from the knight: 'I met a lady on the meads...'. He does this to make the poem more interesting as, if it is from two perspectives, it increases the mystery as you want to read on to find the answer to the questions asked. ...read more.


All of the poems use different language styles, for example rhetorical questions in "shall I compare thee..?" (Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?), alliteration in Porphyria's Lover: 'blushed bright beneath my burning kiss', personification in La Belle Dame Sans Merci. In this the whole poem could be a personification of death or maybe even his lover. We know that Keats was very sick when he wrote this poem so this may have affected it. He also used metaphors, personification: 'darling buds of May' and symbolism: 'lily on thy brow'. Shakespeare keeps "Shall I compare thee" quite informal, light and conversational by using words like 'thee' whereas Browning's repetition of 'mine, mine' is much more menacing and shows possessiveness which has a slightly haunting affect. Although one assumes that poems on the same topic would risk being very similar, each poet finds their own different angle from which to look at love and write about it. As Pascal once said, 'The heart has reasons that reason cannot know" which shows that each and every person has a different way to love and therefore a different way to write about it. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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