In my essay, I will explore and examine the types of love represented in pre and post 1914 love poetry. I will look at three post and three pre 1914 poems. The pre 1914 poems I will look at are First Love by John Clare, Porphyria’s Lover by Robert Browning and Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare. The three post 1914 poems I will look at are Harry Pushed Her by Peter Jones, Long Distance by Tony Harrison and Valentine by Carol Duffy. Pre 1914 poems mainly describe love between a man and a woman as this was the only type of love that was socially accepted. This is because it was a very restricted time. People enjoyed explaining romance however the practicalities were much more restrictive. This love also had to be romantic but may have other different elements displayed within romantic love as well. This is displayed in most of the pre 1914 poems that I have looked at as well other aspects. Pre 1914 poetry also often had to have a strict structure this is shown clearly in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. However, post 1914 poetry often shows many different types of love. These types of love include family love and also friendship love. As well as this post 1914 poets where allowed to talk more freely and honestly about opinions of love. Post 1914 love poetry also explores the relationships, between family and friends. Here love becomes a title under which many different forms branch off from.
The first poem that I will be looking at is Porphyria’s Lover. Porphyria’s Lover is a poem about two lovers who can’t be together because they belong to different classes within society. Before 1914 if two people from different classes where lovers it wouldn’t be socially accept and their relationship wouldn’t be allowed to develop. In Porphyria’s lover Robert Browning uses many different poetic techniques to present his love. One of the main poetic techniques that Browning uses in his poem is personification. Personification is used at the beginning of Porphyria’s Lover it is used to describe the atmosphere and how it changes when Porphyria walks into the room. A quote that supports my findings in this poem is “the sullen wind was soon awake”. This shows that browning is trying to give the wind human features. Another example of personification is “and did its worse to vex the lake:” A lake can’t be vexed but Browning is describing it as if it can be and it is. This starts to give a dramatic effect on the poem as it sets an atmosphere which is one of the main points of the poem. The language ‘vex’ and ‘sullen’ are very angry and moody words. They bring with them a very sinister undertone. Browning also uses metaphors in his poem. This creates the effect of love. The metaphors that are mainly used are to with love and are associated with the heart. Browning uses the metaphor “Made my Heart swell” This metaphor talks about how he feels like his heart has swollen every time he is with Porphyria. Although his heart doesn’t really swell he fells that it does. These romantic images are contrasted against the sombre undertone. This suggests that there is something more to come. The structure of Browning’s poem is very simple but quite affective. It has a continuous rhyming pattern which is ABABB this make the poem flow continuously. This makes it sound as if it is told like a story. Browning also uses alliteration in his poem. The main alliteration that he uses is near the end of the poem. This is “Three times around her little throat”. This draws attention to how he kills her. Alliteration is used many times throughout the Porphyria’s Lover. The poet also uses repetition. The repetition in Porphyria’s Lover is the man trying to reassure himself that he has done the right thing and that she didn’t feel any pain. The main example of this is just after he has strangled Porphyria. The quote is “No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain.” The repetition of she felt no pain shows the reader that he thinks she didn’t feel any pain but part of him...
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