Elizabet Barret Browning

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The development of the emotions and relationship of Elizabeth Browning changes dramatically through sonnets 1-21, as Elizabeth’s comes to a realisation of the love she encounters. In the first sonnet Elizabeth is not aware that she has fallen in love until the end of the poem. She contemplates on her feelings towards her life, as she feels lifeless and depressed. She quotes “i saw, in gradual vision through my tears, the sweet, sad years, the melancholy years.” The Oxymoron in “the sweet, sad years” creates images of depression and the “melancholy years” reflects her thoughts and feelings of the sadness that she encounters. This also slows the flow of the poem creating a slow rhythm which also reflects Elizabeth’s emotions. Although in the next set she quotes “who by turns had flung, a shadow across me, straight i was ‘ware.” By this line the tone of the poem changes to a more forceful tone and powerful tone. “Shadow across me “creates a negative image which shows the power and force of the new emotion. The lines “Straightway i was ‘ware” and “the silver answer rang..Not death but love.” Reinforce that she has unexpectedly come to the realisation that she is in love. In the next sonnet, number 13 Robert has asked Elizabeth to tell him she loves him but she cannot bring herself to do so. She feels a difficulty to say the words. The use of the extended metaphor in the lines “And hold the torch out, where the words are rough, between our faces, to cast light on each.”The extended metaphor creates a fiery imagery which emphasis love and the ferocity of love for her. The torch is also a metaphorical representation of her difficulty in bringing out her emotions, she feels surprised and doubt and unusual as she has not experienced love before. Also in this sonnet, Elizabeth finally comes to the decision to let go of the “torch” as she quotes, “i drop it at thy feet.” She cannot bear to hold the torch any longer and is fearful of saying “i love you”...
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