15 April 2011
The Theme of Love
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an accomplished writer at an early age. Her success continued throughout her adult life. The theme of love was intertwined in most her works. Although Elizabeth Barrett Browning consistently used the theme of love, it was what transpired from that love which gave her personal life success, health, and marriage. The sequence of events for her life never followed the usual paths.
Browning’s success was bitter sweet due to many of the positive and negative aspects of her life. Her father published “The Battle of Marathon” anonymously. Publishing works anonymously was a common practice for women writers of this era. De Profoundis expressed the grief and guilt for her brother’s death. When she states “While the tears drop, my days go on” (Classic Poetry Series. 38; pt. IV, line 5), Browning is expressing her guilt of living due to the circumstances of her brothers drowning. She felt guilty because if it had not been for her going to Torquay for a “rest cure” (Leslie), he would not have drowned in the bay.
The success followed with the popular poem “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count thy Ways”. Her inspiration came from her courtship with Robert Browning. Elizabeth Barrett Browning expresses “I love thee with the passion put to use. In my old griefs, and with my child hood faith” (line 9-10), where she is revealing her love for Robert Browning which would not be possible without her past struggles and heartaches from childhood. This poem was part of Sonnets of The Portuguese which critics acclaimed to be her most inspirational work. Browning never won any award for her writing but was considered for the Poet Laureate of England, succeeding William Wordsworth. Success came to Browning with many obstacles with the main one being health. Elizabeth Barrett Browning constantly struggled for mental and physical health. Diagnosed at age fifteen with...