Contrast Essay

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William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Browning each wrote a series of sonnets; Shakespeare’s work, using his variation of the sonnet and Browning’s, using the Petrarchan style. In particular, “Sonnet 18” and Sonnet 43,” (both of which are about how much the speakers love their partners) use great language and expression. They each show love in its deepest forms. Shakespeare confirms his love for his lady friend, while Browning illustrates her love for her husband and how it has grown. Both sonnets are similar in their representation of love, but they differ in their tone, imagery, and expression of love.

The selected sonnets are written using a different tone and word selection. “Sonnet 18” is Shakespeare comparing his lady to a summer day, and then he goes writing how the wonderful summer is not as great as his lady. Shakespeare also wrote this sonnet with hope and certainty. He says in the end, “Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, / When in eternal lines to time thou growest.’’ (Line11-12) In this quote, Shakespeare says that death will not find, claim, or bring his lady into the afterlife; he says this because he knows his verse, or sonnet will keep her spirit alive forever. This is different from the tone and voice Browning uses in “Sonnet 43.” Browning describes her feeling of love and allure by abstractly measuring what love actually means to her. In her first line, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” she is reassuring herself of her love and feelings by stating the ways. She also frequently says, “I love thee,” in her poem, which lets the reader and the speaker know that her love is true and very sincere. Browning uses a hopeful voice in her sonnet and she knows that if she tells herself what is, she will then know it is viable and verified that she loves her husband. These poems both are composed about love, but their use of altered tone and ways of showing the reader differ. Both Shakespeare and Browning’s poems about love...
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