Compare the ways the poets use structure to develop ideas about a relationship in ‘Sonnet 43’ and one other poem (36 marks)
Carol Ann Duffy and Elizabeth Barrett Browning use a range of structural techniques to develop ideas about the relationships within the poems ‘Quickdraw’ and ‘Sonnet 43’. Both ‘Quickdraw’ and ‘Sonnet 43’ are written in the form of sonnets, although ‘Quickdraw’ is in the form of a loose sonnet so it does not follow the typical conventions of a traditional sonnet, but both have the same effect. In ‘Sonnet 43’, Elizabeth Barrett Browning does not follow one of the traditional conventions of sonnet, which is to contain a rhyming couplet at the end, so instead of this, she ends with the phrase “love thee better after death”. The use of the word “death” at the end of the sonnet illustrates to the reader that the poet has hopes and aspirations that their relationship and love towards each other goes beyond death and that love never ends or dies. Although typical connotations of the word “death” would be loss, finality and the end of a relationship, here Barrett Browning uses it to illustrate her unconditional and everlasting love for her partner. This can be paralleled to ‘Quickdraw’ whereby a rhyming couplet at the end is again not used but alternatively, repetition is evident: “take this...and this...and this...and this”. The fact that repetition has been used, emphasises the speaker’s desperation and possible weakening as the poem develops along with the use of the action verb “take” which suggests a sense of aggression, perhaps illustrating a fighting scene.
The structure of ‘Sonnet 43’ reflects the typical conventions of a sonnet, in terms of the line number equalling fourteen. By writing in the form of a sonnet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetic skills can be seen because it restricts what can be said about love and at the same time also indicates to the reader that her relationship/feelings about her partner have been effectively...
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