Love and Marriage in Poetry

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Love and Marriage in Poetry

In this assignment I shall be talking about the attitudes to love and

marriage, which these three poems reveal as well as their similarities

and their differences. The three poems I shall be focusing on are 'How

Do I Love Thee?' which was written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning;

'Remember', by Christina Rossetti; and Lord Byron's 'When we two

parted'. These three love poems are from the Victorian Era which

spanned over half a century. I shall be analysing the language, which

will lead me into an understanding of the meaning of each poem and

also the structure. In brief, two of these poems not only talk about

love's eternal qualities, but also about death and the pain of

separating. They are unanimously romantic in tone, religious in

outlook and hauntingly beautiful.

Victorian marriages were normally strict, a good thing for men, but

bad for women. Women were not allowed to make their own decisions in

marriage, but if they did and the father found them, he would separate

them. When the father married the daughter off, they sometimes got

unlucky and ended up with a husband who did not love the lady but just

used them as servants and for their body. In the Victorian Era, ladies

had no freedom what so ever, they were not allowed to have their own

houses, furniture, money; this all belonged to the husband. If some

women cannot stand the brutal behaviour, they either ran away or

committed suicide. In most cases, ladies tended to run away, but if

they did and made some money then unfortunately, if the husband finds

them, he will take all the money away. This was actually legal.

Not all Victorian marriag...

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...Thee' I believe that love and marriage are strongly

bonded as the narrator describes love in all its variety. I believe

she is describing her lover in many different passionate ways

reflecting her devotion - it is like a religion to her.

In 'Remember' the poet describes her feelings for her lover, (which is

a sad form of love). The narrator is talking about separation caused

by death where love is trapped in the middle. Yet it is

unusual in that, unlike Queen Victoria, Rossetti urges her lover to be

happy and if that means forgetting, then so be it. Victoria never did.

Both these female poets are also interesting in that love poetry was

the province of men, especially the Petrarchan sonnet, named after

Petrarch a Roman love poet. For women to be writing love poetry to men

was really quite revolutionary at the time.
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