Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Texts reflect the concern and values of their composers. Discuss the representation of love hope in Barrett Browning’s poetry. Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian Era. She wrote a total of forty-four sonnets displaying her changing mentality on life which in turn conveys her changing representation of love and hope. As the sonnets progressed, she begins to portray love as a necessity and a requirement for her existence and due to her rough past, love has provided her with hope. Therefore, Browning’s illustration of love is directly proportional to that of hope. Sonnet I reveals to the audience that Barrett Browning has lived a complicated and problematic life. This sonnet revolves around the adventures endures by a melancholy persona and her negative aspect on life. In the line, “A shadow across me,” she conveys her current view on life. She feels as though she has been living under a “shadow” and her choice of the word ‘shadow’ creates a dark imagery to represent the amount of isolation that she was currently enduring. This negativity is also evident in the line, “Guess who holds thee? / Death.” This cynical reply suggests that Browning is awaiting death. Due to the lack of love within her life, she convinces herself that there is nothing worth living for. The absence of love has led to an absence of hope. Hence, in this sonnet, Barrett Browning portrays love and hope as a non-existing entity within her life. In sonnet XIV, she begins to accept Robert Browning’s love for her. However, she continues to be cautious about the love she is about to accept. Barrett Browning begins to create her own definition of love and begins to request the nature of the love that she wishes to receive from browning. She states in the first two lines, “If thou must love me, let it me for naught/ Except for love’s sake only.” Her use of high modal diction, ‘must’, delineate the fact that she accepts that his love for her is true. She begins to...
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