Stylistic Analysis

Topics: Madrid Metro, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Metropolitana di Napoli Pages: 5 (1696 words) Published: September 18, 2014
Stylistic Analysis on
Sonnet 43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Background of the Poem
Sonnet 43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese is a love poem in a sonnet form. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote this poem in secret when she was being courted by her then husband-to-be, Robert Browning. She wrote a series of 44 sonnets and sonnet 43 became the most famous. These series of poems were published in 1850. The poems express her intense and undying love for Robert. While she conveys her love for him through all these poems, in sonnet 43, she counts the ways of how she loves him. By counting those ways, it showed that her love for him is present in all her walks of life. Background of the Author

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, born in Durham, England, was the oldest of twelve children and daughter of a strict father, Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, who owned sugar plantations in Jamaica. When fifteen, Elizabeth “suffered a spinal injury” caused by “saddling a pony”, and became addicted to pain relievers.  Being weak, she was sent with her brother Edward to the sea of Torquay, where her brother drowned to death, causing her to be emotionally broken.  All the while she had been deep in reading and writing poetry, and she had published some anonymous works which received much unexpected praise. She continued to write, despite her depressed state, but refused to leave her house for the “next five years.”  During this time, she produced a collection known as Poems, which caught the eye of a poet who she had mentioned in her poems, Robert Browning.  The two privately exchanged over 500 love letters in the subsequent months, Elizabeth’s poems being classified as “Sonnets from the Portuguese,” ranked among the most famous collections of love lyrics in English history. One of these poems was known as “How Do I Love Thee?” Literary Devices

Figurative Language
* Simile – comparison of two unlike things using as and like - I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
- I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
In line 7, “I love thee freely, as men strive for Right” means that her love for Robert is not forced, but she does out of her own intention. In line 8, “I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise” shows how her love is not corrupt. It also shows how she loves him purely that her love for him is filled with her humbleness, that she is not expecting any praise in return. * Personification – the manner of giving human attributes to inanimate objects - My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

- For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
In line 3, “My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight” shows that her love for him is not just trapped within the limits of her body, but is spiritual and boundless. The last part shows that she loves him even without the scope of vision, and beyond what she can see or perceive. In line 4, “For the ends of Being and ideal Grace” means that her love is as far as the ends of the world (Being) and even as far as God ("ideal Grace“). This is an expression of heavenly love. * Anaphora – the repetition of a word or phrase

The repetition of “I love thee” in the poem reflects the intensity of the poet’s love to Robert and the persistent nature of that love. This repetition not only builds rhythm but also reinforces the theme. Sound Techniques

* Alliteration – the use of words beginning with the same letter - thee, the(Lines 1, 2, 5, 9, 12)
- thee, they (Line 8)
- soul, sight (Line 3)
- passion, put (Line 9)
- purely, Praise (Line 8)
- my, my (Line 10)
- love, love (Line 11)
- With, with (Line 12)
- lost, love (Line 12)
- but, better (Line 14)
* Assonance – a repetition of vowel sounds in syllables, as in rhymes - height, sight (Line 2, 3)
- Grace, everyday’s (Line 4, 5)
- candle-light, Right (Line 6, 7)
- lose, choose (Line 11, 13)
Rhyme Scheme and Divisions
Elizabeth Browning’s poem describes her unconditional, intense love that she feels for...
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