Critical Analysis Of Visual Imagery In Browning's Sonnet XLIII

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Ungraspable and Unimaginable: A Critical Analysis of Visual Imagery in Browning 's "Sonnet XLIII" Elizabeth Barrett Browning 's "Sonnet XLIII" speaks of her love for her husband, Richard Browning, with rich and deeply insightful comparisons to many different intangible forms. These forms—from the soul to the afterlife—intensify the extent of her love, and because of this, upon first reading the sonnet, it is easy to be impressed and utterly overwhelmed by the descriptors of her love. However, when looking past this first reading, the sonnet is in fact quite ungraspable for readers, such as myself, who have not experienced what Browning has for her husband. As a result, the visual imagery, although descriptive, is difficult to visualize, because …show more content…

Moreover, this scenario also reappears at the end of the sonnet, where Browning says, ". . . if God choose, / I shall but love thee better after death" (13-14). In this comparison, Browning 's love is stretched past death to the afterlife, where death becomes a physical and visual reference point, however, the afterlife is not something the reader can visualize. Therefore, the relationship between Browning 's love and the afterlife could not be more ungraspable for the reader, as the reader has no insight into what Browning 's particular afterlife looks like, with respect to her sonnet. Furthermore, Browning 's ending verse, and the aforementioned two verses, all have a common idea: Browning 's comparisons all revolve around contradictions. The sonnet is essentially about the great, vast love Browning feels for her husband, however, that great, vast love is restricted by each comparison, as each comparison has an unwavering finality. For example, in the first verse mentioned, Browning 's love is being compared to a measureable quantity, "the depth and breadth and height[,]" (2) the volume, of her soul. In this case, how much her soul can contain is limited by the measureable quantity of volume. In addition, the second verse, at lines 5

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