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How do poets explore their idea of love?

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Introduction

How do poets explore their idea of love? What is love? The Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary describes love as "an affection of the mind cause by that of which delights" and "devoted attachment to one of the opposite sex", while the Oxford Dictionary describes it as "deep affection or fondness" or "sexual passion". Love can be innocent, passionate, romantic and physical and is, without a doubt, very powerful. In the poetry anthology studied, the poets explore different themes of love. "When We Two Parted" by Lord Byron studies the idea of lost love, perhaps influenced by Byron's own much-publicised and speculated about love life. "How Do I Love Thee?" celebrates Elizabeth Barrett Browning's pure, almost religious-like love. "First Love" by John Clare is about falling in love at first sight, capturing the idea of unreciprocated love. The poem "When We Two Parted" is about the scandal, shame and sorrow of a past lover, which has a negative effect on Byron. The story of the past relationship unfolds through the stanzas, and we learn about the harsh nature of the break up of this relationship and the sorrowful love encountered at hearing of his previous lover's promiscuous reputation. The poem raises the theme of loss of love and heartbreak, and shows us how love can be portrayed negatively. Similarly to this, "First Love" also explores the heartbreak and unrequited love experienced be John Clare. ...read more.

Middle

John Clare uses a lot of natural imagery in "First Love". This could link to the poet's background, as he was born into a poor family. Clare was a labourer's son and liked to write about natural objects, like those he was surrounded by when he was growing up. For example, he asks in stanza 3: "Are flowers the winter's choice? Is love's bed always snow?" With these rhetorical questions, Clare contemplates the emptiness that fills him as a result of his unreturned love for the woman in the poem. The metaphors link first love with winter and snow - implying that his love was unrequited and that the woman did not reciprocate his feeling. Perhaps the woman remains chill or distant towards Clare, leaving him yearning for her, wanting something precious that he cannot obtain. In stanza 2, Clare tries convey the intensity of his passion: "I could not see a single thing, Words from my eyes did start; They spoke as chords do from the string, And blood burnt round my heart." Clare illustrates that looks can be just as expressive as sounds, as capable as poignant and meaningful sound. John Clare uses a metaphor to tell us of a silent communication. The rapport is not reliant on words, the intensity of his passion is so confusing that it's heat could even turn liquid blood into solid form. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is 3 stanzas long, and each stanza is 8 lines. The lines have stresses of 3 and 4, which alternate: "The trees and bushes round the place Seemed midnight and noonday." The poem is very song-like and rhythmic, and the regularity of the beat and rhyme scheme convince the reader that his love for this woman was true. "How Do I Love Thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is in the form of a sonnet. It has a strict, regular rhyme scheme, rhythm and structure. The poem can be divided into two quatrains (with the rhyme scheme of a-b-b-a and a-b-b-a) and a sestet (rhyming c-d-c-d-c-d). In doing this, Browning conveys a difficult idea and a convincing argument through the use of a very complicated structure. Her poem is one of love, faith and conviction dedicated to her husband. In conclusion, the poets explore the ideas of love using different methods. All three poems convey the nature of love by presenting different aspects of it, showing the feelings felt by the speakers, and the consequences of their love. The three poems I have analysed give an insight into relationships, and show that love can bring someone both pain and joy. I particularly like "When We Two Parted" because I believe that it is an accurate account of how heartbreaking ending a relationship could be. The poem gives us a fresh perspective on how badly loss of love can affect someone in the long term. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kasia Kalinowska ...read more.

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