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

How do poets writing before the 20th Century Write about Love?

Extracts from this document...


How do poets writing before the 20th Century Write about Love? I have chosen three poems, 'My last Duchess', 'Porphyria's Lover' by Robert Browning and 'The Flea' by John Donne to look at the way love is written about, by these poets and through the poems. The poem 'My Last Duchess' by Browning shows a possessive and clingy love, and I think the poet writes about love in less attached and less emotion filled way than what we would expect of a love poem. Browning uses relatively short sentences and broken speech throughout the poem and this gives the whole poem less emotion. The male position in this poem is narrative and is told by the Duke, he feels that he needs to be the centre of the Duchess' affections, 'My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the west,' This shows that he is bitter about the fact that she loves him as an everyday thing. Browning may be suggesting routine in love, he writes about it in a way that we can relate to, with pauses for atmosphere and feeling to be created. There is passion, and anger behind this phrase, that the Duke wants to command her actions, as she is not behaving in a way that pleases him. ...read more.


We can see, in 'Porphyria's Lover', that possessiveness in line 36, 'That moment she was mine, mine, fair...' The repeated words make it seem slightly aggressive and manic, and this phrasing gives us the feeling of being on edge, a victorious moment for the lover. I think this phrase has a slight tone of desperation, how he wants to capture her and keep her. He has this feeling of victory because he has her, and he is in possession of her. This is a bit like the feeling of having to conquer love in 'My Last Duchess'. Perhaps Browning is trying to suggest he feels love has to be conquered, and in order for love to be true or to have happiness in one part, then someone has to feel they have conquered the love or the person. This suggests that selfish and self-absorbed love like in 'My Last Duchess', in the way that the Duke always has to hold all the love for himself, and feel like he is the only person in the Duchess' life. This is a similarity in the way that love is portrayed. In this poem, Porphyria's Lover, the love is also earnest and intense, and Browning uses thick imagery to depict love and personification at the beginning of the poem 'It tore to elmtops down for spite,' This use of language helps the reader to identify with the emotion, and helps us see every detail of the scene. ...read more.


However, I think this also helps us to see how the man is trying to take control of the situation, and we also see that they are all pretty selfish in the poems, because they think of their own interests before their lovers. In 'Porphyria's Lover', for example he says that killing her is 'fair...' and 'yet God has not said a word!' This shows that he thinks he deserves to have her, and that no one has interrupted, so he is in the right. 'And I, its love, am gained instead!' We see the narrator's selfishness; he doesn't spare her feelings. The narrators can only think of what they want. The poets write about conduct in relationships, they show love through this conduct. The Duke showed his love by jealousy, 'Sir, 'twas not Her husband's presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess'. Porphyria's lover showed his love through death, 'Three times her little throat around, And strangled her.' In the Flea, love is shown through sexual persuasion, and how much he wants her. 'Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me,' These all show some form of love, even if it isn't the traditional true love that we first assume would be concealed in these poems. The love shown in these poems isn't the usual type of 'true' love, and they have chosen strange situations and people to represent love. ...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

    "It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee, And in this flea, our two bloods mingled be;" "Cloistered" "marriage" "temple" and "sacrilege" all have religious connections making his argument stronger. In the second stanza the argument appears to be going the poet's way "oh stay, three lives in oneflea spare,

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

    He is very self-centred and even wants to seize the joy his wife feels. '...Who'd stoop to blame This trifling? Even had you skill In speech-(which I have not)- to make your will Quite clear to such an one... -E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop.'

  1. Love is best! (Love Among the Ruins) Does Browning persuade you that this is ...

    The poems show us that the two men who narrate (husbands) are a bit insane. In both poems we realise that it is actually love and not the fact that they are a bit insane that drives them to kill their wives.

  2. Pre 20th century love poetry

    He promises the lady, she will be able to listen to 'melodious birds sing madrigals' and then says she will be able to see the shepherd swains sing and dance together. His use of alliteration also emphasises this image of delightful sounds when he repeats the 'm' in 'madrigals' and 'melodious'.

  1. Compare "The Beggar Woman" was written in the 19th century whereas the poem "Our ...

    The poem also talks about a storm saying that a storm will come and will be scary and worrying at the time but it will clear and the weather will improve afterwards. To sum up this poem by Love brings out the best in the male character as he tries almost desperately to rebuild a damaged relationship.

  2. Compare the different ways in which the poets of Remember, When We Two Parted ...

    Since this is in a 19th century context, the reader can then deduce that the woman was married and therefore, their relationship must be kept secret. He then injects his feelings about the situation then in the lines: "The dew of the morning, Sunk chill on my brow- It felt like a warning Of what I feel now."

  1. Pre-Nineteenth Century Love Poems

    Shakespeare uses sight as the main sense throughout the poem "coral is far red than her lips" here you are given the image of red quite clearly, then given the complete opposite image of his mistress, giving you two images in one.

  2. How do poets writing before 1914 write about love? Consider three poems, two by ...

    The second one is, 'They spoke as chords do from the string'. The narrator was peaking about his heart. When his heart beats for her it sounds like music. Music is a good lobe quality and therefore thoughts about her are lovely and his love for her is true.

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