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Romantic love, physical love, unrequited love, obsessive love: Compare the ways in which different poets have chosen to write about love. Refer to the form, structure, imagery and point of view of four poems that you have chosen and make reference to two

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Introduction

Romantic love, physical love, unrequited love, obsessive love: Compare the ways in which different poets have chosen to write about love. Refer to the form, structure, imagery and point of view of four poems that you have chosen and make reference to two others. In this essay I have chosen how two poets, Robert Browning and William Shakespeare, use different perceptions of love to represent their own views. I will explore how their different poetic techniques emphasise their views on love. 'Porphyria's Lover', written by Robert Browning, is a dramatic monologue which first appeared in 1836. The poem opens using pathetic fallacy, where the weather is used to reflect the mood of the persona, 'It tore the elm-tops down for spite.' This creates a sinister and depressing mood, and allows the contrast to be made against the weather and Porphyria. The threatening atmosphere is also a foretelling of what is to happen in the poem. Although the poem imitates natural speech; it is actually a highly patterned verse, rhyming ABABB. The intensity of the pattern suggests the madness concealed within the speaker. Now as Porphyria 'glided in,' 'she shut the cold out and the storm.' The storm was a device to allow a contrast to be made between the depression of the storm and the contentment of Porphyria. ...read more.

Middle

This again is physical love. The mood of the poem is now set to be slightly sinister by a character that seems to believe women are inferior and are simply acquisitions that grace his place and are commercial in value. Now, when the Duke is standing before the painting, he obsessively blames his wife for exhibiting such a blush to anyone but himself. The more he talks, the more his contempt and self-justifying anger show and the more we can identify with the Duchess. This poem deliberately engages its readers on a psychological level; because the readers only hear the Duke's talk they must piece the story together themselves. Browning forces his reader to become involved in the poem in order to understand it and this also forces the reader to question their response to the theme and the ways he displays this. He forces us to consider which aspect of the poem is dominating: the horror at the Duchess's fate, or the intricacy of the language and the powerful dramatic development. I have also chosen to study two English sonnets by William Shakespeare; they are sonnet 18 and 116. Shakespeare uses a much different interpretation of love to convey his ideas. The sonnet uses a very specific rhyming scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG with ten beats per line, as it is very hard to write poems within these constraints the poem is quickly respected by the reader. ...read more.

Conclusion

Because marriage in Shakespeare's day was mainly an economical or political move; 'the marriage of true minds' actually acknowledges an intellectual dimension. It recognises that women could have an intellectual life. This explores the ideas of the basis of love, and defines how true love should be. This line does not allow the reader to think of obsessive or unrequited love, but purely passionate love. The turning point of this poem is on the fifth line, where the narrator contradicts what is said on line three and four. These two lines suggest what true love is not, 'Love is not love / which alters when it alteration finds. 'O No!' This is the turning point; the narrator now begins to tell the reader what love is. He allows no room for the readers' imagination to mistake the true meaning of the lines. Shakespeare now shows that love is a fixed mark, 'It is an every fixed mark' that sees the storms coming but it is never shaken: 'That looks on tempests and is never shaken' but 'It is the star to every wandering bark,' It [love] is the guiding 'star' to every lost person. The third quatrain shows that love is affected by time, thought its rosy lips and cheek come within the compass on his [Time's] sickle. Here, Shakespeare is personifying time, saying that love cannot be altered by time even if death can take away life. ...read more.

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