Advertisements
Advertisements

How do I love thee Questions and Answers

How do I love thee Questions and Answers

 

MARKS 10/15

 

Advertisements

1. Q. What’s the main theme in “How Do I Love Thee “By Elizabeth  Browning?[How do I love thee Questions and Answers]

 

In “How Do I Love Thee?” true love is depicted as long-lasting and even eternal. However, the poem also reveals a tension between love as an attachment to earthly life and the things of this world, and love as something that transcends life on earth. Love and faith are the major themes filling this poem. The poem is primarily concerned with the love of the speaker with her significant other. She expresses her deep and innocent love in captivating ways. Also, to show the intensity of love she feels, she details how her love will eventually get stronger with time.

By evoking her religious faith so often, the speaker likens her romantic love for her beloved to a religious or spiritual feeling. At first it seems as if her love for this person on earth might be as powerful as love for God. But while the speaker acknowledges the strength of her romantic feelings here and now, she also expresses the wish that both she and her lover will eventually transcend their earthly lives and go to heaven together, where their love will be, with God’s help, “better after death.” Romantic love, for her, is ultimately closely linked to and perhaps even indistinguishable from love for God.

The poem thus argues that true love is eternal, surpassing space, time, and even death. Although the poem is often read biographically, as an address from the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning to her husband, this depiction of eternal and all powerful love could also apply to any human love, since the speaker and addressee are both unnamed in the poem itself.

From the poem’s first lines, the speaker describes her love in terms that sound spiritual or religious. For example, she asserts: “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach.” Crucially, it is her “soul” that is expanding as a result of her love. Love, for her, engages the soul as well as the body. She also explains that her love helps her “feel” “the ends of being and ideal grace.” “The ends” here connotes the “goals” of existence-which, for the speaker, is the attainment of “ideal grace.” The speaker is clearly evoking the religious meaning of “grace” as a gift from God. If her love gives her grace, then she means that it is bringing her closer to God.

The speaker also writes that she loves her beloved “with [her] childhood’s faith” and “with a love [she] seemed to lose / With [her] lost saints.” Her “childhood’s faith” and her “lost saints” presumably refer to the Christianity in which she was raised. The speaker’s description of her “lost saints” suggests that perhaps she has experienced a loss of faith as an adult, but this new romantic love restores her faith in God and gives her back the love she had “seemed to lose.”

The speaker’s love is undeniably grounded in earthly life; she seems to imagine that she will spend “all [her] life” with this person and devote all her “breath,” “smiles,” and “tears” to them. At the same time, however, she also imagines that her love will continue even after this time. She hopes that, “if God choose,” she and her lover will go to heaven and she will be able to love this beloved “better after death.” This implies that the speaker sees romantic love as something that, with faith in God, can continue after death and indeed even deepen.

Ultimately, the speaker’s romantic love does not compromise her love for God. Rather, she likens her romantic love to a religious experience that helps her recapture her “childhood’s faith” and brings her closer to God and “ideal grace.” She prays that God’s salvation in heaven will perfect her earthly love (making it “better after death”) and render it eternal. In this way, the poem argues that romantic love is closely related to and indeed perhaps transforms into-love for God.

on In what is arguably one of the most famous opening lines of a poem in English literature-“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”-the speaker embarks a project of listing the ways in which she loves her beloved. The poem thus begins as a means of attempting to justify love in rational terms. By expressing her desire to “count the ways,” the speaker suggests that her love can be explained on an intellectual level. At the same time, however, she admits that love is actually something more profound, spiritual, and dictated by fate. In this sense, her opening determination to “count the ways” in which she loves slowly succumbs to an understanding that love is often not a rational feeling and can’t be explained.

The speaker sets out to “count the ways” in which she loves, and this organizational structure shapes the form of the rest of the poem. Over the course of the poem, the speaker names seven ways in which she loves her partner. This might at first look like a counter-intuitive or overly argumentative format for a love poem, and by framing her declarations in this unusual way, the speaker implies that love can be measured and “counted.”

In particular, she suggests that her love for her partner is reasoned and rational because it is grounded in the everyday, mundane actions of life: “I love thee to the level of every day’s / Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.” This love isn’t necessarily the stuff of legends or dramatic romances; rather, it exists in mutual bonds of day-to-day care. The speaker also explains that she loves her beloved “purely, as [men] turn from praise,” implying that her love isn’t based on pride or self-aggrandizement. By focusing on these virtues of purity and self-sacrifice, she implies that love can be measured simply in the degree of care one gives the other person.

And yet, even as the speaker declares that her love can be “counted,” she frequently uses language that implies her love is something huge, all-encompassing, and resistant to bounds or limits. For instance, she declares: “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach,” which sounds potentially infinite. The idea of infinity continues into the end of the poem, when the speaker expresses the desire that she and her beloved will love after death in the afterlife-which is to say, infinitely, because in Christian theology, salvation leads to eternal life in heaven.

“How Do I Love Thee?” begins by declaring that it is possible to “count” the ways in which one loves. But it ends by looking forward to heaven and the afterlife, a time in which it will no longer be possible to measure love, because love will be infinite. In this way, the poem first imagines love as something rational or measurable, but ends by asserting that love sometimes can’t be explained by reason or measured, no matter how hard one might try to do so.

Throughout the poem, the speaker frequently describes love as a free choice based on admiration for a lover’s qualities. Reading the poem biographically, this is a significant choice for a poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who had little choice in

her own life: she lived at home until her forties under the power of a controlling and restrictive father. It is thus not surprising that the poem places a high value on choice and freedom as romantic values. For this speaker, love is not just a source of joy or even spiritual fulfillment; it’s also a means of achieving freedom within constraining circumstances.

The speaker states: “I love thee freely, as men strive for right.” She thus explicitly frames her love as something that is not coerced or influenced by anyone else, but rather as something that comes from her own agency and free choice. By comparing her love to an effort to “strive for right,” she also connects romantic love to a broader set of ethical values and goals. That is, her love is something that empowers her and gives her the agency to make her own decisions about her life, rather than relying on someone else.

What’s more, the poem is written in a first-person voice that gives the speaker an air of authority and reinforces this theme of agency. For instance, she declares “Let me count the ways,” an imperative sentence that puts her firmly in control of the poem’s narrative. She makes frequent use of the “I” and “me” pronouns, which further adds to this sense that the speaker is asserting her own voice and feelings in the poem. The list of ways in which the speaker loves her beloved is also structured like a list of arguments or supporting points, from her opening assertion that she will “count the ways.” The speaker is thus depicted as articulate and confident in defending her choice of partner.

Additionally, the speaker emphasizes that her love is a free choice in her adulthood, as compared to her lack of agency in childhood, when she was told what and how to worship. For example, she claims that she has transferred her “passion” from her “childhood’s faith”-the religion she was taught as a child-and “put [it] to use” in her love for her partner. She admits that she “seemed to lose” her love for her “lost saints,” but now this new love has made her faith more powerful because it is a love of free choice.

Ultimately, the poem makes a powerful equation between love, choice, and freedom. The speaker emphasizes that she loves “freely” and that her affection for her partner is a result of her own assessment of his value. It is not a value imposed from external authority like her “childhood’s faith,” but is rather an expression of her own agency. “How Do I Love Thee?” is a poem that emphasizes the speaker’s power and agency in making her own romantic choices. This is a particularly bold claim for a woman of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s time, when women often lacked the opportunity to exercise agency over their own lives.

2. Q. Justify the title “How do I love thee?” briefly and critically.

Also known as ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese 43: How do I love thee?’ was written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a great poet of the Victorian era. ‘How Do I Love Thee’ is a famous love poem and was first published in a collection, Sonnets from the Portuguese in 1850. The poem deals with the speaker’s passionate adoration of her beloved with vivid pictures of her eternal bond that will keep her connected to her beloved even after death.

The forty-four poems that became Sonnets from the Portuguese were written by the future Mrs. Browning between 1845 and 1846 while she was being courted by Robert Browning. They were first published in 1850 in her Poems with the 1856 edition containing most of the desired revisions and corrections. (A supposed 1847 edition of the Sonnets by themselves was later proven a hoax.)

It is thought that the title was meant to shroud some of the personal nature of the poems by implying they were a translation of an older work. The link between the contents of these poems and her correspondence with Robert are detailed in the introduction to Dow’s edition. Harmon notes that the title Sonnets Translated from the Bosnian was also considered.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” is one of the most famous love poems in the English language. Because it’s so famous, many readers mistakenly attribute the poem to that master sonneteer, William Shakespeare. However, “How do I love thee?” was written centuries after Shakespeare in fact, it’s only been around for a little over 150 years. Prominent Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning first published the poem in 1850. –

The poem was part of a sonnet sequence called Sonnets from the Portuguese. The title of the sequence is intentionally misleading; Barrett Browning implied to her readers that these were sonnets originally written by someone else in Portuguese and that she had translated them, whereas in reality they were her own original compositions in English. (“My little Portuguese” was actually an affectionate nickname that Elizabeth’s husband used for her in private.) The sequence consists of 44 sonnets, with “How do I love thee?” appearing in the striking position of number 43, or secondto-last, making it an important part of the climax.

The poem you’re reading, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” doesn’t actually have a title. The sonnet sequence that it’s a part of is titled Sonnets from the Portuguese, even though none of them were in Portuguese to begin with. Confused? Don’t be. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote 44 sonnets for her husband, Robert, in the 1840s. In 1850, she published them as a series, and she titled it Sonnets from the Portuguese. This made readers think that Barrett Browning had simply translated sonnets that she originally read in Portuguese, whereas in reality she had written them herself in English. “My little Portuguese” was an affectionate pet name that Robert used for Elizabeth, so by calling them sonnets “from the Portuguese,” she was essentially saying “to Robert from Elizabeth” in a secret way that most readers couldn’t decode.

The individual sonnets don’t actually have titles, and so we do what we must when a poem is untitled: we call it by its first line. So this sonnet, number 43 in the sequence Sonnets from the Portuguese, is known by its first line, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” or “How do I love thee?” for short. And that pretty much says it all: the poem is a list of ways that the speaker loves her beloved. It’s interesting to notice the way that the poet balances this list structure with a traditional sonnet structure, which requires a surprising turn at the end.

Most critics agree that Barrett Browning wrote the sonnets, not as an abstract literary exercise, but as a personal declaration of love to her husband, Robert Browning, another important Victorian poet. Perhaps the intimate origin of the sonnets is what led Barrett Browning to create an imaginary foreign origin for them. But whatever the original motives behind their composition and presentation, many of the sonnets immediately became famous, establishing Barrett Browning as an important poet through the 19th and 20th centuries. Phrases from Barrett Browning’s sonnets, especially “How do I love thee?” have entered everyday conversation, becoming standard figures of speech even for people who have never read her poetry.

3. Q. In what part of How do I love thee? by Elizabeth Browning can you tell what the tone is and what impact does the tone have on the poem? Or, Q. Analyze and identify the figurative language in “Sonnet 43” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Or, Q. What are the figures of speech and poetic devices used in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee?”?

Literary devices are tools that writers use to convey their emotions, ideas, and themes to make their text more convincing and appealing to the reader. Elizabeth Barrett Browning has also employed some literary devices to bring uniqueness in this poem. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been discussed below

Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /ee/ and /i/ in “I love thee freely, as men strive for right;” and the sound of /e/ in “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height.”

Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different. For example, the poet compares her love and her soul to a physical three-dimensional object. “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight / For the ends of being and ideal grace.”

Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the first part of some verses. For example, the word “love” is repeated to emphasize her feelings of true love. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. / I love thee to the depth and breadth and height.”

Enjambment: It is defined as a thought or clause that does not come to an end at a line break rather continues in the next line. For example, “I love thee with the passion put to use / In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.”

Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height”, “Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light” and “In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.”

Hyperbole: Hyperbole is a device used to exaggerate any statement for the sake of emphasis. For example, “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight.”

This Petrarchan sonnet has fourteen lines, the first eight being the octet and the final six the sestet. At the end of the octet comes what is known as the turn, more or less a subtle change in the relationship between the two parts.

In this sonnet the octet is basically a list set in the present that reflects a very deep love; the sestet looks back in time and then forward to a transcendent love, which helps put the whole work into perspective.

The rhyme scheme is traditional – abbaabbacdcdcd – and the end rhymes are mostly full except for: ways/Grace and use/loose/choose. The full rhymes bring closure and help bind the lines together.

Iambic pentameter is dominant, that is, there are ten beats and five feet/ stresses/beats to most lines, for example :

I love / thee to / the depth / and breadth / and height My soul/ can reach, / when feel / ing out / of sight.

4.Q. Evaluate “How Do I Love Thee” as a love poem.

Or, Q. Discuss E. B. Browning’s How do I love thee as an ideal love poem.

As this poem is about love, the speaker counts how she adores her beloved. To her, love is a powerful force that can conquer everything in the universe. As an epitome of her expression of love, she details the ways how her love will get stronger with every passing phase of life. At the outset, she attempts to discuss the depth of her passion by drawing analogies between her love and religious and political ideals. Later, she expresses the unique quality of her enduring love when she says that her love will get better after death.

Elizabeth Barret Browning, a famous poet in the Victorian era, published a compilation of 44 Sonnets entitled Sonnets of the Portuguese, named after her husband’s endearment to her My little Portuguese. This miscellany was inspired by their love story and courtship. The 43rd entry in this Sonnet was entitled How do I love thee, which was the most popular poem in this compilation and was used by Shakespeare in one of his plays, Hamlet. Because of its popularity, it attracted scholars that resulted in criticizing her poem, but most of them approached it positively. Critics often say that her Sonnets were one of the most widely known collections of Love lyrics in English. Scholars compared her imagery to Shakespeare and her own version of Italian form to Petrarch. The title itself gives a glimpse to the reader that the poem is all about love. It is also obvious that the poem will contain the author’s expression of what love she feels to her beloved whom she wrote the poem for. It was a true reflection of the intense love that a person could feel.

It is also considered as a sensitive poem because of the fact that the author defines herself only in the way she loves her husband. The theme that the author uses in this poem was not just a typical love but in a deeper understanding of it, the point that it is not an earthly concept, but an abstract and everlasting one that lasts beyond cold grave. There are circumstances that Browning experienced in the past and in the present that influenced her while writing her poems. One of it was her tormented childhood which was reflected on line 10 In my old grief and with my childhood’s faith. It was when her mother died when she was still young and believed that, that caused her to somehow lose her faith in God, but eventually, found the light when she met her husband.

Another, Elizabeth’s family was once a wealthy family until her father mismanaged their Sugar plantations in Jamaica and suffered serious financial crisis, with embarrassment they decided to transfer to Sidmouth and eventually, live in London. Another, she was weak physically and encountered different illnesses in her childhood such as lung ailment, injury in her spine and chronic cough. Then, her father opposes their relationship but didn’t succeed at all.

In 1846, they exchanged letters and soon eloped and resided in Florence, Italy. Because of what she had done, her father never talked to her again. The word passion on line 9 pertained that it was related in the Passion of Jesus. It is Christian s belief that Jesus’ suffering serves as forgiveness for the sins man committed, and this connects with the idea that the passion is put to use, said Nomi. Tracing her past, when her brother died through drowning, she suffered from a comma-length period of depression lasting over five years. She burdens herself into that tragic event and was in-pain for a long time that she didn’t even want to talk about it until she died.

Another, when she met her husband, Robert, who she devoted her love for and the one who inspires her to write. He is also the one who fulfilled the love that Elizabeth wants to feel since her father was too busy to give her the attention she needed. Line 7 ended the statement with a clause, as men strive for right, clearly suggests that slavery was present in that period of time. The word right can simply define as justice and fairness that, that era doesn t practice or being implemented that time. Although her father owned a sugar plantation still she stands for her principle that she was against slavery.

ways The poet expressed her everlasting love for her husband by counting the on why she loves him. She attempted to express her undying love in every dimension of her life. In this style, she was able to present the fact that everything around her leads to that kind of love. Analyzing the poem, she presented it not just by counting ways but more on defining her love by citing her own limitations. The structural approach that permits scrutinizing every line was used to find the underlying message of the poem.

The title already gives the audience the idea that it contains expression of love for someone (Line 1). The poem started with the rhetorical question that the poem itself answers in its body. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height. My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight (Line 2-3), with this line, it was believed that her love for her husband was three-dimensional. Basically, she refers to the physical, emotional and spiritual love for him and might be considered as real.

Another scholar gave meaning to this line such as the word soul proves that she is not trapped by the limits of her body, and can love beyond those limits. With this statement, we can say that her love for him was limitless. It was also said in the poem that she loves him to the point that he was like one of the basic needs of her life. It was reflected on I love thee to the level of every day s. Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. (Line 5-6). Another interpretation of this could be the sun, refers to the typical sun while the candle-light may be the light that she uses when the sun sets. It only implies that her love for him doesn’t end but still continues like a cycle. A scholar said this doesn t mean the love is any less significant.

The everyday need for love may be quiet, but definitely it’s there while Nomi said She is expressing her love for him by just saying just as we have our basic needs to survive, she has his love. Although they have different approaches, they both believe that his love was considered as one of her basic needs in order to survive. The next lines I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. (Line 7-8). In the first line we can say that she loves her with her free will and that she was not forced to love him. Also, she loves him without asking for something in return.

The next line insists that she loved him without any expectation and didn’t want to be praised by anyone. She loves him for the sake of love and not for praise. Perhaps the speaker is also implying that she’s not proclaiming her love in order to be applauded by her readers. She’s not seeking praise for writing a great poem about love; she loves without wanting any reward or commendation. The last part of the line could be implied that her love keeps on going strong and not jaded with age. The poem ended with the confession of her love for him that it was sturdy to the point that it is within her system. She loves him in whatever emotion or feeling she might feel every day and If God persists, she’ll love him even more after death.

Nomi did a reflection that if God is willing to put in heaven, or both in Hell, at

least they will be able to be with each other in order to love after death. This only implies that as long as they’re together it won t matter wherever they would be after life. This startling ending provides a unique beauty to the poem which mesmerizes the readers and provokes them to think about love, said Shreya.

The poem goes into describing how deep her love for her beloved and did not focus on why and when she loves him. She let the readers be aware and understand that her love for him was deep and countless to the point that she extended her love beyond her physical limitations. According to Joseph Campbell, The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Elizabeth, which happens to be the hero in the poem, proclaimed her love for her beloved by moving beyond her limitations in her agony of spiritual growth. It can also be described as everlasting love because it was continuous even after death. She believed that her love for him was her life. She needs him like air to continue living and be able to survive in life.

Pure love and dedication are the two pillars on which this poem stands and once again the poem proves the most cherished notion that love is eternal and it is unaware of any boundaries said R. Jain. Nomi suggested that To me this poem could not have been written so deeply by someone who has not felt these feelings. Everyone knows of love, but not everyone feels it as deeply or strong as in this poem. People, who don’t feel like how the author feels, might have had other expressions through reading this poem. Eternal love refers to her describing the love for him without any reason at all.

Everyone knows that love does exist but not everyone is privileged to be loved as much as the receiver of this poem. This tells us that pure and eternal love exists but only for a few people. Nowadays, people might say that true love doesn’t exist anymore but what they don t know is that we all have the capacity to be loved as long as we have faith in our hearts. For me, true love exists through God. He is our forever. With Him around everything is possible. With the right time and blessing from Him, Pure and Eternal love could exist. Because of the extreme and deep love the poem expresses, it enlightens and inspires people to love even more.

5. Q. Evaluate E. B. Browning’s sonnet How do I love thee as a Petrarchan sonnet.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) wrote a series of 44 sonnets, in secret, about the intense love she felt for her husband-to-be, poet Robert Browning. She called this series Sonnets From the Portuguese, a title based on the pet name Robert gave her: “my little Portugee.” Sonnet 43 was the next-to-last sonnet in this series. In composing her sonnets, she had two types of sonnet formats from which to choose: the Italian model popularized by Petrarch (1304-1374) and the English model popularized by Shakespeare (1564-1616). She chose Petrarch’s model.

 

Sonnet 43 is a love poem in the form of a sonnet. A sonnet is a 14-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme and meter (usually iambic pentameter). This poetry format-which forces the poet to wrap his thoughts in a small, neat package originated in Sicily, Italy, in the 13th Century with the sonetto (meaning little song), which could be read or sung to the accompaniment of a lute.

When English poets began writing poems in imitation of these Italian poems, they called them sonnets, a term coined from sonetto. Frequently, the theme of a sonnet was love, or a theme related to love. However, the theme also sometimes centered on religion, politics, or other topics. Poets often wrote their sonnets as part of a series, with each sonnet a sequel to the previous one. For example, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote a series of 154 sonnets on the theme of love.

Barrett Browning composed “Sonnet 43” in the form of a Petrarchan Sonnet. A sonnet is a fourteen line poem in iambic pentameter, the most common types of which are the Petrarchan sonnet and the Shakespearean sonnet. The Petrarchan sonnet consists of two quatrains-sections of four lines-that are usually recognized as forming an octave-an eight line section. The octave is followed by a sestet, or a six line section. The Petrarchan sonnet has a rigid abbaabba rhyme scheme in the octave.

The rhyme scheme in the sestet is variable, most commonly cdcdcd but occasionally cdecde or cdcdee. Both types of sonnets present and solve a problem; in the Petrarchan sonnet, the problem or issue is set up in the octave and solved in the sestet. A “turn”-a marked shift in subject or emotion reflected by a change in form-occurs at the ninth line, between the octave and sestet. In anticipation of this, the second quatrain(the second half of the octave) advances the subject matter in some way, rather than merely repeating it in a different form.

Both, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How Do I Love Thee and William Shakespeare’s Sonnet XVIII, explore the universal theme of eternal, transcending love. Similarly both sonnets are confessions of love towards a male subject. Browning’s is a passionate love, one that the Greeks referred to as eros: “Eros is Love who overpowers the mind, and tames the spirit in the breasts of both Gods and men.” Shakespeare’s, however, is the love of agape. It is the love one feels for his family and friends. In dealing with the theme of love, both poems reference the beauty of their emotions, and the everlasting nature of such beauty.

Barrett’s How Do I Love Thee follows the structure of a Petrarchan sonnet, and is therefore written in iambic pentameter. It consists of 14 lines, and is divided into an octave and a sestet. The octave presents the primary problem facing the author, in this case being the question of her declaration of love. The sestet resolves the problem presented by clarifying the ways in which the author loves her beloved and claiming that her love would be strengthened in the afterlife.

Shakespeare’s sonnet follows the structure of a classical Shakespearean sonnet,

and as such, is written in iambic pentameter. It consists of 14 lines, divided into three quatrains and a rhyming couplet. The rhyme scheme introduces the primary notion of the sonnet, it being the comparison of the speaker’s beloved to a summer’s day. The second quatrain strengthens the comparison of the beloved to a summer’s day. The final quatrain of the sonnet tells how the beloved differs from the summer in that respect: his beauty will last forever and never die. In the couplet, the speaker explains how the beloved’s beauty will accomplish this feat, and not perish because it is preserved in the poem, which will last forever.

Both the poems end with a reference to the future. Shakespeare says that his friend will live forever through his poem and in Sonnet 43 the poetess expresses that her love for her beloved will continue after death if God gives her permission. The repetition of I love thee contributes to the effect of accumulation.

In conclusion, Elizabeth Browning’s sonnet expresses in a simple manner a declaration of an ultimate love, a profound feeling comprising both elements from the physical and spiritual sphere. Her simplicity in enumerating the reasons offers purity to the feeling as she says in one of sonnets lines: “I love thee purely”. However, the poem seems to be passing from a level dealing with the everyday’s needs which is also a real importance to a supernatural level dealing with a feeling of love transcending death.

6. Q. Comment on the symbolism present in the poem.

In this sonnet, love is everything. Loving the beloved is the way that the speaker actually knows she exists. Trying to list the different types of love that she feels, and to work out the relationships between these different kinds of love, becomes a new way of expressing her affection and admiration for “thee.”

The speaker begins by posing a question that the entire sonnet will go on to answer: “How do I love thee?” It’s interesting that the interrogative word here is “how,” rather than “why” or “when.” This is not really a rhetorical question, because the speaker does answer it, but it operates in a similar way to rhetorical questions because it introduces the poem and gets the reader thinking.

The speaker uses a spatial metaphor to describe the extent of her love, comparing her soul to a physical, three-dimensional object in the world. These three lines also introduce a lot of sound play into the sonnet. In line two, three words have a “th” sound and a fourth word (“height”) comes close. These breathy syllables soften the line, making it more difficult to fit it into a traditional iambic pentameter rhythm. In fact, throughout the poem there’s an excess of “th” sounds, some of them voiced (like the “th” in “thee”) and some of them unvoiced (like the “th” in “depth”). It might be interesting to think about how the two different kinds of “th” sounds fall into patterns in the poem.

In lines three and four, the poet uses assonance, repeating long “e” vowel sounds in words like “reach,” “feeling,” “Being,” and “ideal.” This repeated long vowel 1 sound adds a brighter, livelier quality to the poem. It also reminds us of what the speaker calls the beloved – “thee.” There’s also an internal rhyme between the word “feeling” in the middle of line three and the word “Being” in the middle of line four. This extra rhyme, along with the rhymes at the ends of the lines, ties the poem together more tightly.

– The 5 ans 6 lines are some of the only lines in this poem that actually use concrete imagery – “sun and candle-light” – and even then, it’s only images of different kinds of light, not necessarily definite objects. Even more so than other poems, this is an extremely abstract, vague lyric that seems to take place out of this world.

The 7 and 8 lines use anaphora, beginning with the same phrase, “I love thee,” as do lines two, five, and eleven. This parallel structure emphasizes that the poem is in many ways a catalog or list of ways of loving, rather than an extended argument or scene like some other poems. We can’t help but think that claiming you’re going to love someone “better after death,” whether it’s your death or their own, is something of a hyperbole.

By including references to her feelings of grief, bitterness, and the loss of innocence, the speaker of this poem gives her love a more realistic edge. The love she feels for “thee” is beautiful and intense, but it’s also the follow-up to a series of less warm and fuzzy feelings. She’s felt disillusionment, loneliness, and anger in the past, and all of these affect the way she feels love in the present.

The lines 9-10 are the first lines in which the speaker mentions her past “griefs.” To emphasize the difficult nature of the grief the speaker has felt, these lines use a subtle chiasmus of sounds, using an “f” and an “s” sound and then repeating them in the reverse order: “griefs […] childhood’s faith.” In both places, it’s actually difficult to read the lines clearly, forcing you to over enunciate and stress this line more than you naturally would.

In the lines 11-12, the speaker’s loss of her “saints” is counterbalanced by the over-the-top alliteration of four initial “I” sounds and the sibilance of five “s” sounds: “I love thee with a love I seemed to lose / With my lost saints” (11-12).

Thus, “How Do I Love Thee?” has very few symbols, but an important one is light. “I love thee to the level of every day’s / Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight,” says the speaker in lines 5 and 6. She certainly means she loves her partner day and night, but she also means that she is illuminated by love.

7. Q. Comment on the nature of love that the speaker expresses in the sonnet How do I love thee?.

The poet believes that every man has basic ethical goodness in him which helps him choose the right path. Her affection for her beloved is as effortless as a man’s abstention from what is wrong. This means that the love in her heart comes to her as naturally as the intrinsic goodwill present in mankind. She further adds that she does not love or write about it with expectations of praise in return. She writes about it to show to the world and her beloved the love which grips her heart through her true words.

The poet while shedding further light upon her love tells us that the passion which she feels for her better half is like the one which she felt when she was deeply grieved. Passion arising out of a grieved heart is of the deepest kind. She says that after falling in love with her beloved those old grievances seem insignificant now as all that passion which they infused in her then gets used up in loving her beau now. Her love is of the kind which pulls the poet out of faithlessness. When she is with her love she feels the same sense of security which she felt when she was a kid. When we are kids we are unaware of the unfairness of the world and believe in goodness but as we grow up that belief dwindles. The poet is taken back to that childhood faith of hers after falling in love with her soul-mate.

The poem is one of the forty-four sonnets that Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote for her husband, Robert, in the 1840’s. In 1850, she published them as a series, and she titled it Sonnets from the Portuguese. In this sonnet, love is everything. Loving the beloved is the way that the speaker actually knows she exists. Trying to list the different types of love that she feels, and to work out the relationships between these different kinds of love, becomes a new way of expressing her affection and admiration for “thee.” The sonnet does not actually have a title, being known by its first line “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”. This line tells us that the poem is a list of ways that the speaker loves her beloved.

In the next lines “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height/ My soul can reach when feeling out of sight/ For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.” She is talking about how deep her love is for him. She is basically saying that her love is physical but at the same time it is spiritual. The love she has for him is in her soul, body and mind. She loves him until she doesn’t exist anymore; she loves him as the perfect gift. The kind of love described in this passage almost sounds more like admiration and esteem – loving someone to the greatest “height” that your soul can go. The lines “I love thee to the level of everyday’s/ Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.” suggest that his love is one of her basic needs, like air and water and she needs it day and night.

The fact that she loves him freely as in not by force or obligation but own free will is suggested by the line “I love thee freely, as men strive for Right”, In “I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise” she is saying that she loves him purely for love and not the praises and benefits from love. The following lines “I love thee with a love I seemed to lose/ With my lost saints” expresses the speaker’s love for “thee” as the kind of love she had for her childhood heroes and other people she admired. Either she has lost these people because they died, or she’s been disillusioned about them. In the end of the poem “I love thee with the breath,/ Smiles, tears, of all my life! -and, if God choose,/ I shall but love thee better after death.”, the author emphasizes the fact that she loves him with the life that’s in her. She loves him with the breath that is in her body, through the happy and sad times in her life, and even after death, beyond the grave if God will allow it she will still love him forever more.

Once the poem is read the obvious conclusion to be drawn is that the title is posed as a question and the poem is the answer to this question. The poem goes into describing how she loves her husband, as in how deep. Not the “why” she loves him or the “when” she loves him. She describes a love that is eternal, that will go on forever even after death. Loving him is like her second nature, it’s like the air we all need to survive. She exhibits many themes in the poem, the obvious one love, admiration, mortality and identity.

In the sonnet, the speaker describes her love through the use of anaphora, allusions to the Bible, diction motifs, structure and punctuation. The anaphora I love thee followed by an explanation on how she loves him emphasizes the extent of her love. Additionally, the poet repeats the former phrase exactly seven times: possibly representing the seven days of the week, conveying that she loves him every day. Also, the anaphora can be an allusion to prayers in the Bible, as these continuously repeat expressions; therefore, giving the sonnet a prayer – like tone to show that her love is Holy.

Saying that only her soul can reach the extreme love, found at the ends of Being and ideal Grace demonstrates that her affection towards her beloved is as great as her love towards God – comparing him to the Lord means putting her loved one above and beyond any living thing on Earth. The punctuation also plays a great role in the description of the poet’s love. Both an explanation mark, and a question mark are found in the first line of the sonnet; these represent the poet’s excitement about the topic and show the great importance she has towards it.

8. Q. Describe the significance of the setting and the speaker of the poem.

We want to be very careful never to assume that the author of a poem is the same thing as the speaker – meaning that Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the Victorian poet you’re studying here, isn’t the same as the “I” who asks “How do I love thee?”

Still, the fact that Barrett Browning wrote this sonnet for her husband, Robert, leads us to believe that the speaker of the poem is best interpreted as female, while the beloved is best interpreted as male. However, the way the poem is written leaves the gender of both parties in the relationship completely ambiguous.

That’s part of what makes it such a great love poem for the ages – anybody can send it to anyone else, without even changing a word. That gives you some idea of how undefined the character of this speaker is. The speaker here, like the speaker in most sonnets, is a shadowy and uncertain figure. We don’t know any concrete character details about her. But there are two things we’re pretty sure of: she really loves someone, and she’s really interested in listing and describing all the different kinds of love she feels for him.

We also get the sense that she has a very complex internal emotional landscape; she loves someone intensely, but she also has “old griefs” – things she’s bitter about – and “lost saints” – people she’s lost her faith in and feels disillusioned about. She also talks about her “childhood’s faith” as though it was in the far distant past, which suggests that this is a mature, older speaker, not a young girl experiencing her first crush.

If you could visit the speaker as she’s speaking this poem, we like to imagine that she’s actually inside her own heart, rummaging around to find all the different kinds of love she has in there and counting them. Think of “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” as a slightly more abstract version of something like “How many black shirts do I have? Let me count them all” – and then ransacking your closet, drawers, and laundry basket to get hold of each of them, noticing their differences and their similarities.

We get a sense of absent-mindedness here, too. How do I love thee? Wait, how many pairs of flip-flops do I have? Or, if you don’t like the laundry analogy, think of the speaker’s heart as her mp3 player, and she’s spinning the little click wheel, reading off the titles of the songs she’s got on there: “What kinds of music have I got on here? Let me count the songs. Oh, look, here’s ‘My Childhood’s Faith’ – I love that one.” That sort of thing.

9. Q. Analyse critically Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet How do I love thee?.

‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways is one of the most famous opening lines in all of English love poetry. The poem is a famous one – or at least its first line is – but the poet who wrote it is less famous now as a poet in her own right, and more familiar as the husband of Robert Browning, whom she courted through a series of extraordinary love letters in the 1840s. It was not always this way.

The poem was first published in a sonnet sequence, Sonnets from the Portuguese,

five was in 1850, though the poems that make up the sequence were written around years earlier. It’s a little-known fact that the first ever sonnet sequence in English was written by a woman, and throughout history the sonnet sequence has tended to be associated with male poets: Petrarch, Sir Philip Sidney, Shakespeare, George Meredith, And although Barrett Browning’s title sounds as though she is translating poems written by some Portuguese sonneteer, that title Sonnets from the Portuguese in fact a little in-joke: ‘Portuguese’ was Robert’s affectionate nickname for Elizabeth, so these sonnets are from her and her alone: sonnets from Robert’s beloved ‘Portuguese’

is In terms of its form, upon closer analysis we realise that Barrett Browning’s poem is not even a Shakespearean sonnet but a Petrarchan one, rhymed abbaabbacdcdcd. She uses anaphora – repetition of the same few words at the beginning of successive sentences or clauses – to explore, in summary, the various forms that love can take, and the many ways in which she loves Robert. Robert figured as almost Christ-like: he inspires in Elizabeth ‘a love I seemed to lose / With my lost saints’, as if love for him has taken the place of religious worship.

There is a strong religious vein to the poem: ‘My soul’, ‘my childhood’s faith’, ‘lost saints’, culminating in the final declaration of hope in the afterlife: ‘and, if God choose, / I shall but love thee better after death. After all, ‘I love you’ was a cliché when Barrett Browning took up her pen, and she was confronted with the same problem which has plagued love poets since time immemorial – something that Carol Ann Duffy tackled through creating a collage of quotations from famous love poems.

Barrett Browning found a way to create a tender love poem that is infused with spiritual language, to suggest a love that is pure (‘childhood’s faith’) and deep (‘the ends of being and ideal grace’). ‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways’ remains a widely anthologised love poem, but deeper analysis of its form and further delving into its origins reveal something that is much more than just a ‘soppy’ love poem.

The poem fuses devotional verse with the language of love poetry to produce something the Victorians took to their hearts, which has remained a mainstream favourite among anthologists and fans of classic love poetry.

10. Q. Attempt a critical appreciation of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘How Do I Love Thee’.

How Do I Love Thee? is sonnet number 43 taken from The Sonnets From the Portuguese, a book first published in 1850. ‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways’ is one of the most famous opening lines in all of English love poetry. The poem is a famous one – or at least its first line is – but the poet who wrote it is less famous now as a poet in her own right, and more familiar as the husband of Robert Browning, whom she courted through a series of extraordinary love letters in the 1840s. It was not always this way.

Once upon a time, Robert Browning was the struggling obscure poet and Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the one who, upon Wordsworth’s death in 1850, was considered for the post of Poet Laureate. But after Barrett Browning’s untimely death in 1861, Robert Browning’s star rose while the posthumous reputation of his wife declined. Many people mistakenly attribute the title of the poem to Shakespeare, and even a notable film, 10 Things I Hate about You – which borrowed its plot loosely from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew- used as its ‘Shakespearean’ tagline: ‘How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways. But the poem is not one of Shakespeare’s addresses to the Fair Youth, but rather a love poem written about Barrett Browning’s own beloved, Robert.

The poem was first published in a sonnet sequence, Sonnets from the Portuguese, in 1850, though the poems that make up the sequence were written around five years earlier. It’s a little-known fact that the first ever sonnet sequence in English was written by a woman, and throughout history the sonnet sequence has tended to be associated with male poets: Petrarch, Sir Philip Sidney, Shakespeare, George Meredith. And although Barrett Browning’s title sounds as though she is translating poems written by some Portuguese sonneteer, that title Sonnets from the Portuguese was in fact a little in-joke: ‘Portuguese’ was Robert’s affectionate nickname for Elizabeth, so these sonnets are from her and her alone: sonnets from Robert’s beloved ‘Portuguese’.

In terms of its form, upon closer analysis we realise that Barrett Browning’s poem is not even a Shakespearean sonnet but a Petrarchan one, rhymed abbaabbacdcdcd. She uses anaphora – repetition of the same few words at the beginning of successive sentences or clauses to explore, in summary, the various forms that love can take, and the many ways in which she loves Robert. Robert is figured as almost Christ-like: he inspires in Elizabeth ‘a love I seemed to lose / With my lost saints’, as if love for him has taken the place of religious worship.

There is a strong religious vein to the poem: ‘My soul’, ‘my childhood’s faith’, ‘lost saints’, culminating in the final declaration of hope in the afterlife: ‘and, if God choose, / I shall but love thee better after death. After all, ‘I love you’ was a cliché when Barrett Browning took up her pen, and she was confronted with the same problem which has plagued love poets since time immemorial – something that Carol Ann Duffy tackled through creating a collage of quotations from famous love poems. Barrett Browning found a way to create a tender love poem that is infused with spiritual language, to suggest a love that is pure (‘childhood’s faith’) and deep (‘the ends of being and ideal grace’).

‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways’ remains a widely anthologised love poem, but deeper analysis of its form and further delving into its origins reveal something that is much more than just a ‘soppy’ love poem. The poem fuses devotional verse with the language of love poetry to produce something the Victorians took to their hearts, which has remained a mainstream favourite among anthologists and fans of classic love poetry.

“Sonnet 43,” the penultimate sonnet in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portugese is perhaps the most famous of sonnets, recited frequently at weddings and on soap opera picnics. Most hearers will recognize its opening line,

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” even if they cannot name the author. The work most closely associated with Barrett Browning’s name, some critics have called it her most inspired poem. Barrett Browning originally printed Sonnets from the Portuguese as pieces she had found and translated. They were, however, her own compositions, inspired by the courtship of and her subsequent marriage to poet Robert Browning. The couple initially chose the deceptive title for publication because they perceived the poems as so forcefully revealing private emotions. They also had reason to worry that the drama of their courtship would overshadow the sonnets themselves.

Barrett was an invalid under the tuta-lage of a domineering father when she fell in love with Browning, a man six years her junior. The couple eloped to Italy, and Barrett Browning bore a child at the then unusual age of forty-three. Once the autobiographical content of the sonnets became known, the author’s life did become the most common tool for reading the cycle.

While each of the 44 sonnets in the collection maintains a certain autonomy, it is also possible to regard each as part of an intertwined narrative depicting the various phases of a surrender to love. Read autobiographically, the cycle begins tentatively with the speaker’s amazement and distrust that, in her sickly middle age, romantic love would appear. When she becomes convinced of the man’s love, she worries that, though sincere, it may be only temporary.

The cycle’s movement suggests a good deal of hesitation-one step back for every two steps forward-as the speaker addresses her uncertainty. Can romantic love fill the void of familial community? Can the suitor make good on his promise to fulfill her needs? There is, nonetheless, an emotional progression, and in the final sonnets the narrator transcends her questions and warnings to her lover.

Throughout the cycle, Barrett Browning describes romantic love in language that echoes the passion of religious conversion; “Sonnet 43” uses a particularly rapturous language to describe the love she feels for her lover. After the opening line, the poem details seven ways she loves him and closes with a request for love continued after death.

 

                                                                    MARKS-5

 

1. What is the main theme of “How do I love thee?” by Elizabeth Browning?

In this poem, the speaker expresses all of the myriad ways that she loves her beloved, to whom she speaks (this is a device called apostrophe: when the speaker addresses someone who is absent or dead or cannot respond). She says that she loves him as far as her “soul can reach” and during the day and at night, by “candlelight.” She loves him “freely,” as though it were a moral requirement, and “purely,” because she must. She loves him “with the passion put to use / In [her] old griefs, and with [her] childhood’s faith,” with the force of the strongest feelings known to both old and young. She loves him with a force she didn’t think was still possible, with a love she last experienced when she was young and had heroes and “saints.” She loves him with all of her, her happiness and sadness, her body and soul: everything that is her. Finally, she says that, if God allows it, she will continue to love him, and to love him even “better,” after her death. Ultimately, then, the poem’s theme is that true love knows no bounds, not even the grave.

2. Explain :

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

These are the first four lines from the sonnet How do I love thee? Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This sonnet helped kick-start many more on the theme of modern (Victorian) love, from a woman’s perspective. Note the emphasis is on the repetition and reinforcement of the speaker’s love for someone; there is no mention of a specific name or gender, giving the sonnet a universal appeal.

The first line is unusual because it is a question asked in an almost conversational manner – the poet has challenged herself to compile reasons for her love, to define her intense feelings, the ways in which her love can be expressed. There then follows a repetitive variation on a theme of love. To me this conjures up an image of a woman counting on her fingers, then compiling a list, which would be a very modern, 21st century thing for a female to do. This poem comes from another era however, a time when most women were expected to stay at home looking after all things domestic, not writing poems about love. The second, third and fourth lines suggest that her love is all encompassing, stretching to the limits, even when she feels that her existence – Being – and God’s divine help – Grace – might end, it’s the love she has for her husband Robert that will sustain.

Note the contrast between the attempt to measure her love with rational language -depth, breadth, height and the use of the words Soul, Being and Grace, which imply something intangible and spiritual. Her love goes beyond natural life and manmade theology. These are weighty concepts – the reader is made aware that this is no ordinary love early on in the sonnet. The clause, lines 2-4, contains enjambment, a continuation of the theme from one line to the next. At this point the reader cannot know whether this is a rhetorical question.

The opening line might seem to present an impossibility or an absurdity in its attempt to define an abstract concept, love, by mathematically adding up instances of it. Dealing in lofty and abstract ideas, the speaker provides no image or symbol to make her love concrete or easy to grasp. Since “Sonnet 43” appears second to last in the cycle of sonnets, some critics have justified these abstractions by referencing them to other sonnets in the volume, arguing that the sonnets must be read as an intertwined narrative to be fully understood. Be that as it may, the abstractions occuring at this point establish the largeness of her love, maybe even making it beyond comprehension.

Several critics have pointed out that “the depth and breadth and height” echoes Ephesians III 17-19, where Saint Paul prays for comprehension of the length, breadth, depth, and height of Christ’s love and the fullness of God. The terms “Depth, breadth, and height” all refer to dimensions, and the speaker specifies the condition of her soul at the time these dimensions are largest: “when feeling out of sight.” Taken in context, the phrase probably describes a soul that feels limitless. Other phrases can be decoded to similarly spiritual expressions of love and being, including “For the ends of Being”-death or at least a bodily death-and “ideal Grace”-heaven. Specific religious meanings for concepts like “grace,” “soul,” and “being” are, however, far from given, since the poem provides a good deal of room individual interpretation.

3. Explain :

I love thee to the level of every day’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right; I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

The extracted lines are from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet How do I love thee? The speaker, the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning continues with her passionate need to differentiate the many ways her love for her husband manifests. In line five she clearly tells the reader that, be it day or night, her love fills those quiet moments, those daily silences that occur between two people living together.

Her love is unconditional and therefore free; it is a force for good, consciously given because it feels like the right thing to do. She doesn’t want any thanks for this freely given love; it is a humble kind of love, untainted by the ego. Sun and candlelight are the first concrete images we come across in this poem. The earthly time frame these lines suggest, however, is still limitless and all-encompassing; “by sun and candle-light” refers to both day and night. The speaker’s perspective narrows or even “comes down to earth” a little, shifting from its most religious tone to a focus on more apparently secular human interests. She does, however, select a particularly glorified image of humanity to identify with her love, personifying it as men who are both righteous and humble.

The perspective contracts further-and provides the sonnet’s “turn.” The speaker’s very broad and abstract view becomes concretely personal, turning away from the limitlessness of religion or the outside world to the within of her individual past. Specifically, she describes her love such that it changes the quality of grief, making that grief almost welcome in retrospect. The word “passion,” however, introduces several levels of meaning; most significantly, it brings back the religious allusions of lines two through four by recalling the passion of Christ. The image of a childhood faith, distinct from the speaker’s current faith, suggests something especially pure and innocent.

4. Explain :

I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

This is the part of the sestet from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet How do I love thee? The sestet starts at line nine. The speaker now looks to the past and compares her new found passions with those of the old griefs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning had plenty of negativity in her adult life – she was mostly ill and lived like a recluse, seeing only old family friends and family. Her father in particular oppressed her and wouldn’t allow her to marry. There were no romantic relationships in her life by all accounts. She must have been driven to the point of willing herself dead. Little wonder that when Robert Browning came along she was given a new lease of life.

In contrast her childhood had been a happy one and it’s this she refers to in the second half of line ten. A child’s faith is pure and innocent and sees fresh opportunity in everything. It seems that romantic love rescues a lost religious faith, or at least rescues the passion and impulse the speaker used to feel for religious faith. The “lost saints” can be read both literally and figuratively, as the saints of the church, Christian liturgy or ritual, or even people who once guided the speaker-her own personal saints.

5. Explain :

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

These are lines taken from the concluding couplet of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet How do I love thee?. Turning to religious feelings in line eleven, the speaker refers to a lost love she once had for the saints – perhaps those of the christian church, of conventional religion. Or could she be looking back at the saintly people in her life, those she held in great regard and loved? She suggests that this love has now returned and will be given to her husband. In fact so stirred up is she with these innermost feelings she goes on to say in line twelve, with just a dash to separate – this returned love is her very breath. Not only that, but the good and the bad times she’s had, is having, will have this is what the love she has is like. It is all enveloping. –

And, in the final line, if God grants it, she’ll carry on loving her husband even more after she dies. “Smiles, tears, of all my life” echoes back to “my old griefs” in line 10, and the speaker begins the closure of the poem where she hopes to be able to achieve an even greater love after death. With humility, the speaker acknowledges that this desire might not be within her power to satisfy. So her love will go on and on, beyond the grave, gaining strength, transcendent.

6. Comment on the rhyme-scheme of the poem.

The rhyme scheme of “Sonnet 43” is as follows: Lines 1 to 8-ABBA, ABBA; Lines 9 to 14-CD, CD, CD. Petrarch’s sonnets also rhymed ABBA and ABBA in the first eight lines. But the remaining six lines had one of the following schemes: (1) CDE, CDE; (2) CDC, CDC; or (3) CDE, DCE. The first eight lines of a Petrarchan sonnet are called an octave; the remaining six lines are called a sestet. The octave presents the theme of the poem; the sestet offers a solution if there is a problem, provides an answer if there is a question, or simply presents further development of the theme. In Browning’s Sonnet 43, the octave draws analogies between the poet’s love and religious and political ideals; the sestet draws analogies between the intensity of love she felt while writing the poem and the intensity of love she experienced earlier in her life. Then it says that she will love her husband-to-be even more after death, God permitting.

7. In the first eight lines of the sonnet, the speaker reaches for many metaphors to help articulate her love. Describe how each one illustrates a particular aspect of that love. Which, in light of the entire poem, seems the most central?

In the octave or first eight lines of the sonnet, the speaker attempts not so much to “count” the aspects of love as to measure love’s extent, its “depth and breadth and height.” In doing so, however, she encounters an inevitable problem: while she is trying to define an abstract condition, the dimensions she specifies in line 2 are strictly physical ones. Using the three-coordinate system, we can mathematically plot any point in space, but we can never objectively locate concepts such as “love” or the “soul.” Instead, we search for indirect or figurative means of discerning metaphysical properties in a physical universe. Our everyday lives are filled with instances of this. We might, for instance, project anger into three-dimensional space by breaking an object. Similarly, we often observe in the natural world ready-made expressions of our abstract feelings: we might perceive our own sense of romance in the setting sun, our loneliness in a dark night, or our fear of impermanence in a snuffed-out candle. But while metaphors allow us to hint at unnamable concepts or conditions, they can never define them entirely.

The speaker’s problem, then, is that she lacks the earthly terms to describe the spiritual state of love. What she can say is that it encompasses her entire existence. Since human life is filled not with continuous rapture but with small, ordinary moments her love reaches “the level of every day’s / Most quiet need.” Since life is lived chronologically, she loves in an unbroken sequence of time, both “by sun and candlelight.” And since humans possess free will, her love is given “freely, as men strive for Right.” Yet while these comparisons seem vast in human terms, they are still restricted by the bounds of mortality. Even when the speaker approaches the most transcendent state, “feeling out of sight” of the physical world and reaching “for the ends of being” (the self) and “ideal Grace” (the eternal, or God), she cannot make the final leap away from spatial reality. Her soul is still described in three-dimensional terms. In short, she is confused because love feels eternal but she is mortal.

8. The typical Petrarchan sonnet is characterized by an emotional or intellectual “shift” between the octave, which defines a problem, and the sestet, which offers some sort of resolution. Describe the shift in Barrett Browning’s poem. In what terms is the problem defined and resolved? How do the images and language of the octave prepare the reader for the sestet?

In keeping with the Petrarchan form, the sonnet moves from consideration of the problem in the first eight lines to resolving it in the sestet. The problem is that the speaker’s love seems to supersede her mortal self, leaving her frustrated and reaching for a variety of metaphors to describe her devotion. Even as she explores the greatest reaches of the self-“the ends of Being”-she finds love dwelling in the unattainable region of “ideal Grace.” In Platonic terms, the ideal can be approached but never fulfilled because it is purely conceptual. In Christian terms, such a state can be achieved only through relinquishing the self entirely-that is, through death.

Similarly, love requires a kind of death: the death of the former, individual identity, that is sacrificed to the beloved and to love itself. In exchange, love brings a kind of transcendence; reborn, the lover becomes greater than before, privy to more acute insights and capable of more heroic actions. Such a transformation seems akin to a religious experience, and it is on this idea that the sonnet turns in the last line of the octave. The two concepts introduced there, pureness of devotion and humility(“turn[ing] from Praise”), are the self-effacing prerequisites of Christian worship. According to the teachings of Jesus, to turn to God one must turn away from the self-to release all earthly desires and ego-driven ambitions. In the sestet, then, the speaker is able to articulate feelings for her beloved in the other-worldly terms she already understands: Christian terms. The notion that death enables a person to “love better” is ubiquitous in Christian lore. The lives of the saints are filled with examples of martyrs willingly succumbing to execution or murder in order to achieve a state of “ideal Grace.”

a Each of these martyrs-these “lost saints”-suffered “griefs” and endured “passion” similar to Christ’s. Dying for God, they achieved a love they could not “lose”-an eternal love that could never again be eroded by the “smiles” and “tears” of life. The speaker finds in this a metaphor for the kind of love she feels for her paramour. As pure and complete as a saint’s love of God, the feeling blinds her to all other possibilities and returns her to an innocent condition-to “childhood’s faith.” In addition, it accounts for her inability to measure the extent of her love in earthly terms. Given its divine, eternal aspect, her love might reach perfection in some sphere beyond “the ends of Being”-that is, “after death.”

9. Discuss the significance of the religious allusions used by E. B. Browning in this sonnet.

“Sonnet 43” exemplifies the poet’s use of religious allusions throughout Sonnets from the Portuguese. John S. Phillipson, writing in the Victorian Newsletter in 1962, notes the echo of St. Paul, Ephesians III 17-19, where Paul prays that “Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Philipson suggests that “Sonnet 43” adapts St. Paul’s thought into a new context, explaining that the “tone mingles suggestions of divine love with profane, implying a transformation of the latter by or into the former and an ultimate fusion of the two after death.” While other critics have not investigated the religious imagery in such detail, they generally acknowledge the importance of relevance language in the poem. In her book Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Virginia Radley states that “Students often find Elizabeth confusing on the subject of God, Love, and Robert Browning. For her, however, no confusion exists: God is Love; and Robert Browning’s love brought concrete form to the concept: in a Platonic sense, it gave form to the formless.” She concludes that, in Barrett Browning’s understanding, the “flame of love is divine in origin; it burns through lovers; its fire distills all lesser metal out; what remains is the pure essence.”

10. How is the sonnet a good example of Victorian literature? How the themes and ideas are expressed in Victorian times? Write an essay quoting the lines you need to support the themes.

“How do I love thee” is a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and a clear example of Victorian literature, for its theme, love, which was a recurrent idea by then, mainly in women writing, and for its hidden religious view and the way in which the author tries to measure and count everything, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” With this type of phrase the author creates in readers a sense of rigidity proper of this period. Anaphora, as well as alliteration, is present in many of the lines, “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height.” The constant repetition of the phrase “I love thee…” throughout the lines of the poem builds rhythm while reinforcing the theme, and in many of the times in which this is said the author wrote an alliteration to make the poem more easy going. “I love thee with a love I seemed to lose, with my lost saints, I love thee the breadth.” Here there’s an obvious connotation with Barret’s life: as well as it happened to her, in this line when the sonnet’s getting sentimental reality, that is to say everything that’s countable, touchable, crushes it; which is similar to what happened to Barrett; when she fell in love with Robert Browning her father wouldn’t let her marry him. All these elements, though they may sound tough and odd to contemporary readers, were common at the time; women were at home all day, it wasn’t common for them to work and they weren’t allowed to study, all these created an atmosphere of jealousy and condone around women literature. With all these ups and downs, Barret created a piece of writing representative of all women at the time, of how they were oppressed, of how they had to fight for the rights they deserved.

MARKS 2

1. What type of poem is “How Do I Love Thee?”

It is a Petrarchan sonnet.

2. Who is the presumed speaker in the poem? Who is the presumed subject of the poem?

The poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning herself.

Her husband, the famous poet Robert Browning.

 

3. Give an example of simile in the poem.

“I love thee freely, as men strive for right” is an example of Simile.

4. What is the poem’s meter?

The poem is written in iambic meter with unstressed and stressed accents.

5. When was the poem first published and by whom?

In 1850, the London firm of Chapman and Hall published Sonnet 22 and the other poems in Sonnets from the Portuguese in Poems, a revision of an 1844 collection of the same name.

6. What does “childhood faith” most likely refer to?

The innocent faith of a child in beings greater than himself.

7. What does the metaphor of light represent here?

The metaphor of light in the poem represents spirituality, vitality and the passing

of time.

8. To whom does “thee” refer?

‘Thee’ refers to the speaker’s lover.

9. What is the central idea of the poem?

The speaker’s love is pure, free and passionate.

10. Give an example of assonance. What is an example of personification in the poem?

“Depth and breadth” is an example of assonance.

“My soul can reach.”

16. What does the phrase “lost saints” refer to?

It refers to the lost faith in religious or important figures in the speaker’s life.

17. In which era was this poem written?

The poem was written in the Victorian era.

18. What is the speaker like?

The speaker is amorous, confident and spiritual or religious in faith.

19. Which significant figures of speech are there in the poem?

The dominant figure of speech in the poem is anaphora-the use of I love thee in eight lines and I shall but love thee in the final line. This repetition builds rhythm while reinforcing the theme. Browning also uses alliteration.

20. Who may be considered an antagonist in the poem?

The God.

Because He chooses whether the speaker will still love in the afterlife.

***********************************

How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers

How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers

How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers

How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers

How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers

How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers

How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers How do I love thee Questions and Answers

Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!
× Chat Now