How Do I Love Thee

Good Essays
Whitney Perez
April 11, 2013
AP English
Roben

Poetry Quarter 3 Response Essay

In both poems, "How Do I Love Thee" and "The Definition of Love" Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Andrew Marvell use figurative language, imagery, diction and tone to depict love as a feeling and less on the object of love. Browning believes that love doesn't have boundaries, physical nor spiritual. However Marvell believes love and fate are an opposing force always battling. In this sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, love is everything and the poet tries to list the different types of love that she feels, and it becomes a new way of expressing her affection for "thee." In line 1of the sonnet Browning begins by stating a question that the entire sonnet will answer which is, "How do I love thee?" It's interesting that the word "how," rather than "why" is used because the speaker does answer it, but it's like a rhetorical question because it introduces the poem and gets the reader thinking. A metaphor is used in lines 2-4 to describe the extent of her love, comparing her soul to a physical. Lines 5-6 use imagery like "sun and candle-light" which is only images of different kinds of light, not necessarily definite objects. Browning writes, to love someone "better after death," (lines 12-14) is a hyperbole. It is over exaggerated because if you’re dead how can you love someone better? The repetition of "How do I Love Thee" emphasizes the intensity of the speaker's love. The repetition of "I love thee" serves as a constant reminder, but it is the feeling of love, not the quantity of love, that makes the poems theme of love conquering all. Diction is depicted in the motif of religion in the poem when Browning describes love as holy. Saying that only her, "soul can reach the extreme love, found at the ends of being and ideal grace." demonstrates that her affection towards her lover is as great as her love towards God. By comparing him to the Lord she is putting her

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