Comparing Attitudes Toward Love in First Love, Shall I Compare Thee, Porphyria's Love and The Flea

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Comparing Attitudes Toward Love in First Love, Shall I Compare Thee, Porphyria's Love and The Flea Love is an uncontrollable emotion experienced by everybody at some

time. There are many different types of love, whether it's between

mother and child, friends, lovers or a shop-a-holic and her credit

card. Many poets have written on the subject of love and tried to

capture the essence of the indescribable feeling. William Shakespeare

discusses romantic, eternal love in "Shall I Compare Thee...?" whereas

John Clare addresses the issue of unrequited love in "First Love."

Contrasting with these ideas of admiration and romantic love is John

Donne's "The Flea," where romance is by-passed and seduction and lust

clearly the sole motivators. In Robert Browning's "Porphyria's Lover,"

the tone of the poem is darker, addressing issues of obsessive love

and jealousy. The poems all discuss issues that are present today in

love and this makes the theme of love universal, indicating everybody

can relate to the feelings and experiences.

"Shall I Compare Thee…?" by William Shakespeare is a sonnet. It

describes a man's love and admiration for a woman. He says he is

immortalizing their love by putting his feelings into words because

"so long as men can breathe or eyes can see" people will be able to

read this poem and know of his love for this woman. The language used

in this poem is of praise for this woman's beauty and wonderfulness,

words like "lovely, darling, and temperate," show the romantic nature

of this verse portraying care and devotion. Shakespeare personifies

the Sun by ...

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... pain felt she, I am

quite sure she felt no pain." This indicates a strong possibility that

the lover is insane. Browning uses fallacy for the weather, "the wind…

tore the elm-tops…and did its worst to vex the lake." This piece is an

excellent representation of obsessive love, the lovers mind is

occupied purely with the thought of making her his own and no one

else's he believes Porphyria is an object rather than a person so he

has no problem killing her to eternalize their love.

The four pieces show very different aspects of love and despite having

major differences two have some similarities, with "First Love," and

"Shall I Compare Thee…?" both clearly express admiration and wonder.

"Porphyria's Lover" and "The Flea," are not similar to the other poems

or each other they do not speak of love kindly if at all.
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