How Do I Love Thee Analysis

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“How Do I Love Thee?” is a sonnet written by Elizabeth Browning. The speaker begins by posing a question that the entire sonnet will go on to answer: "How do I love thee?" Both this poem and Romeo and Juliet present the theme of love. There are similarities in both views of love including love as everything in life. But there are differences in these two types of love like their maturity and desires in the love relationship. In “How Do I Love Thee?” love is presented as everything in the speaker’s life. Loving her beloved is the way she knows that she herself exists. “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height”, the speaker uses a metaphor by describing her soul as a three-dimensional container and love filling the whole of it. It shows that love for him is everything that is in her soul. This is rather similar to the love presented by Romeo and Juliet as Romeo and Juliet are in love in each other despite coming from warring families. Their love for each other is so strong that it overcomes the feud between their families. Romeo also wishes to die rather than be without Juliet's love, saying: "My life would be better ended by their hate than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.” It shows that Romeo’s love for Juliet is stronger than his desire to live in this world, making love the reason for him to continue being in this world. Despite having similarities in the type of love presented in “How Do I Love Thee?” and Romeo and Juliet, there are a few contrasting ideas in their affection for their lovers. In “How Do I Love Thee?” the love is presented is more grounded and down-to-earth. As the speaker explains, she loves her beloved “to the level of every day’s most quiet need”. Even though it is not directly described, we get a sense of everyday domestic living – the reality of wanting to be with someone in a low-stakes kind of way. This is unlike Romeo and Juliet’s love which seems like an adventure full of uncertainty. “By sun and candle-light” is another...
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