Elizabeth Barrett Browning's sonnet "How do you love thee?. . . "is a powerful expression of love, reflecting upon her moving experience during her courtship with Robert Browning (Sonnets from the Portuguese 43, The Norton Anthology of Poetry, pg. 947). In sonnet form, Browning is with the capacity of articulating and, additionally, intensifying her passion and determination; evident by using figurative language, tropological use and poetic rhythm. The poet openly addresses Robert Browning and the aspects that constitute their love; recasting her interest in light of youth experiences and a context that defies temporality. Her articulate skill, as well as the range of poetical devices and techniques Barrett Browning utilizes, accounts for the overall impact and effect of her literary work.
How do I really like thee? I want to matter the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My heart can reach, when being out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal Sophistication. (1-4)
The opening type of the sonnet features an apostrophe: "How do you love thee? I want to count number the ways" (1). Here, Barrett Browning immediately submits her poem as immediate address to her spouse. The explicitness and seductive quality of the written text is further improved through the use of the pronouns 'I' and 'thee'. Both of these particular pronouns are being used to initiate the written text and are also repeated in following clauses. It therefore becomes apparent that Barrett Browning is forwarding her personal thoughts and expression; offering an instinctive procedure towards a love and a interest that has captivated her emotions. Furthermore, Barrett Browning starts her sonnet with a rhetorical question "How do I love thee?" (1); a body of speech that will not need a response, but instead is effectively hired with the motive to assert the passion and love that seems to have completely caught her thoughts.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My spirit can reach, when sense out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal Elegance. (2-4)
The images portrayed vividly characterises her love as a concept that retains a resemblance to the transcendent character of her spirit; a love that is inherent and is out there firmly beyond the world of physical actuality.
Another effective articulation of love is the resemblance between Barrett Browning's dedication to Robert and the strive for liberty and justice: "I really like thee openly, as men strive for Right/ I really like thee solely, as they go back from Praise" (7-8). Barrett Browning uses such tropological utilization to invite the reader to set a different focus; establishing a romantic relationship between two different principles and therefore, articulating in a metaphorical logic to convey interpretation in a far more captivating and stunning representation. In this particular image, Barrett Browning effectively characterises a connection between the emotional connection with a substantial other and one's allegiance with the federal government. By alluding to politics ideals and the ongoing have difficulty for rights, one can infer the conceptualisation of passion and love in some other and compelling reasoning, further justifying the true aspect and immensity of her feelings towards Robert Browning.
I love thee easily, as men strive for Right;
I love thee strictly, as they return from Reward.
I love thee with a passion used (7-9).
Browning frequently addresses Robert in this sequence of clauses to show the multiple facets of her enthusiasm, which she seems can only just be expressed through the reiteration of the assertion "I really like thee. . . " (7-9). The exert reveals that her love for Robert is overwhelmingly liberating and thus natural; a love that is clear of coercion and self-interest.
Barrett Browning's poetical adeptness and her potential to articulate her interest remains constant throughout her literary work. Inside the closing lines of the sonnet, Browning shows that her love and enthusiasm is one which defies temporality: "I will but love thee better after death"(14). The concluding range discloses that she will not dread that her love for Robert will vanish, but rather, if God enables, will be a love that increases stronger even after loss of life. Alluding to religion: "and, if God choose"(13), creates the notion of a love that is eternal and transcendent, characterising her love as something that exists outside the context of temporality.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's sonnet "How do I love thee?. . . " is both rhetorically and passionately effective. Her enthusiasm and love is clearly evident in the literary word that she has addressed explicitly to Robert. It becomes apparent that sonnet is both poetically and vividly effective; expressing her enthusiasm and love through the execution of figurative terminology, tropological use and poetic rhythm. Barrett Browning effectively employs the utilization of poetical devices and techniques that account for the overall effect and impact of her work.
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