Poetry has been used for centuries as a medium for expressions of love. From romantic to familial love, there is a poem for it, describing its nature. These poems typically also convey clear or implicit ideologies relating to gender and gender construction. Sonnet 43 or “How do I Love Thee?” is arguably one of the greatest love poems of all time. Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 1850, it can only be described, as an outright expression of romantic love, of which is unusual for females in Victorian England.
How do I love thee is indisputably a love sonnet and was written for Barrett Browning’s husband before they were married in order to show her undying, endless love for him. Sonnets are typically associated with romantic poetry. Thus, Barrett Browning’s choice of Petrarchan sonnet is apt. It is interesting that she does not follow the strict structure of sonnets that is ten syllables per line, as she varies from nine to eleven syllables. These variances add to the genuineness of her profession of love. If she had kept to the strict syllabic structure, it would cause the poem to have a less natural sensation. Currently, line four and five have more than 10 syllables per line and line nine has less than the ten syllables per line, with nine syllables. This minor disparity causes the poem to appear as if written from the heart, in the heat of the moment, rather than painstakingly thought-over. It is evident that through Barrett Browning’s choice of sonnet, she is trying to profess her endless love for her husband, Robert Browning.
Barrett Browning has tried to quantify her love through asking the question “how do I love thee?” which is the overarching theme o...
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...f all time. The poet used the Petrarchan sonnet form to achieve its purpose of revealing her endless and undying love for her husband, Robert Browning. Barrett Browning attempted to quantify and define her love throughout this poem, by use of repetition, rhythm, and iambic pentameter. It is interesting to note that, this poem could be regarded as gender-neutral, without prior knowledge of the poet’s gender. The use of sound by Barrett Browning makes the poem appear more feminine. “How do I Love Thee” was written in the Victorian Era, and the use of imagery makes the sonnet, ultimately, seem to be a challenge to traditional gender roles, despite the slightly feminine tone. Overall, it cannot be disputed that “How do I Love Thee” is an expression for Romantic, undying and endless love on the behalf of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and is therefore a truly Romantic poem.
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- “How Do I Love Thee” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: An Analysis Poetry has been used for centuries as a medium for expressions of love. From romantic to familial love, there is a poem for it, describing its nature. These poems typically also convey clear or implicit ideologies relating to gender and gender construction. Sonnet 43 or “How do I Love Thee?” is arguably one of the greatest love poems of all time. Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 1850, it can only be described, as an outright expression of romantic love, of which is unusual for females in Victorian England.... [tags: Poetry, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet]
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