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Sonnet 43- How Do I Love Thee. This sonnet by Elizabeth Browning is an attempt to measure and quantify love.

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Introduction

Commentary for Sonnet 43 This sonnet by Elizabeth Browning is an attempt to measure and quantify love. Having experienced the deaths of her mother and brother, she tries to replace the love lost with the new-found love of Robert Browning. For her, this love is immense and forever lasting as she tries to grasp onto him in attempt not to loose yet another loved one. The geometric figures illustrated in our head when 'depth', 'breadth' and 'height' lead us to think that the love she is describing has dimensions that are rich of love. This advocates that it is overflowing and extraordinary. Further reference to infinite love is implied when she says that her 'soul can reach'. ...read more.

Middle

Her other attempts to quantify love is when she mentions how the amount of 'breaths', 'smiles' and 'tears' she has had in her life are equivalent to the amount of love she has for him. She concludes the poem with: 'love thee better after death' indicating that life is short and therefore not eternal; as is love. However, after death there is eternity and everlasting life. So her final message is that their love can develop and evolve into a much stronger and impregnable emotion. This sonnet has a passionate and loud voice. Elizabeth Browning is determined to get her voice heard, and to express her love as impressive and grand as she can to show how grateful she is to this man for bringing life back to her after her devastating losses. ...read more.

Conclusion

She uses iambic pentameter, which is more conversational implying that she is talking to him in a casual, soothing tone. The poem is split into two parts; the first eight lines are more metaphysical of the sonnet are metaphysical and descriptive of her love. The last six lines are about her loss and tragedies, about her past and her childhood. Towards the end of the poem the ceasuras start to become more emotional and slow down the pace even more, perhaps to show the importance of the last lines and to get the message across correctly. The auto-biographic reference to the deaths of her mother and brother suggest that she is the 1st person narrator. As you read through this sonnet you can understand that the love that was lost to this women was a great devastation, and having finding it again with Robert Browning made her see his importance in her life. ...read more.

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