Compare How Two Or More Poets Approach The Theme Of Love
A lot of television programmes (soaps) and songs have the theme of love, but until the latter part of the 20th Century, poetry was one main source of entertainment, along with novels and plays. Traditional love poetry is usually romantic, comparing the beloved to
inconceivable beauty, Shakespeare's poetry being an example. Young love is also a popular subject. A good poem showing this type of love is John Clare's 'First Love' in which the boy is dumbstruck by the beauty of his first love, "my blood rushed to my face." However poetry, which breaks tradition, is just as interesting if not pleasant. Robert Browning's poems are good examples, some more cheerful than others. There are so many types of love poems including obsessive love, spiritual love, erotic/passionate love and 'sickly' love. Different poets approach the subject of love differently. Some prefer Shakespeare's love others prefer Donne's love.
We have studied and analysed a lot of poems, but I have chosen two poems to compare. The first is Shakespeare's sonnet 'Shall I compare thee..?' It is a classic sonnet with three quatrains and a rhyming couplet at the end. I think that this length of poem is perfect for its purpose, which is to explain and explore a single thought. Shakespeare uses intense language. By doing this he gives his love a kind of immortality, the love is everlasting.
The poem begins with a question, "Shall I compare thee to a summers day?", a lively and inviting tone. This is a remarkable claim. Shakespeare is comparing his love with perfection. The question is answered in the next line, "Thou art more lovely and more temperate". This is even more astonishing as he believes her to be more perfect than perfection. Shakespeare changes his tone to show the temporary nature of spring and why summer is not a fair enough comparison, "rough winds do shake the darling buds of Maie." His lady is faultless. Shakespeare then lists the poor qualities of summer
"And Sommers lease hath all too short a date."
Shakespeare declares that the sun is sometimes too hot, while other times "his gold complexion dim'd." The personification of the sun is very effective. It is describing summer, while also describing other people's temperament as flawed. However his love's "eternall Sommer shall not fade." She again rises above everything.
Shakespeare then states that his love's beauty will be eternal and she will still be beautiful in her grave,
"Nor shall death brag thou wandr'st in his shade."
The couplet states that as long as "Men can breathe or eyes can see," this sonnet will keep his love's beauty alive. Shakespeare's ending is joyful and loving, it confirms all of Shakespeare's thoughts.
The second poem is Robert Browning's poem 'Porphyria's Lover.' This is a very disturbing and thought provoking poem. The poem is narrated by an obsessive lover who considers his love as a possession. She cannot be with him because she is married, "her vainer ties". Obviously she is an upper class citizen and he is not, therefore they cannot be together in the public eye.
The poem has no verses, I think that if Browning had created verses it would have ruined the flow of the poem. The shock in the middle of the poem is so effective because of this.
'Porphyria's Lover' begins with the poet in a depressed state of mind, transferring his mood into the weather, "the sullen wind", an example of personification. This poem uses dark language to convey the lover's emotions, "spite."
'Porphyria's Lover' does however suddenly change tone when Porphyria is likened to a goddess as she "glides" in the door. When she comes in, her presence warms the cottage, "she shut the cold out and the storm." Porphyria then undresses, teasing Browning, letting her long blonde hair fall. "And, at last," she sits down very confidently and calls him. She is...
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