Thursday, August 27, 2009

Analysis of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese, Sonnet 43

Sonnet XLIII

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, - - I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life - - and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


Sonnet 43 is in iambic pentameter.  Iambic Pentameter is popularized by the Italian model of Petrarch(1304-1374) and by the English model of Shakespeare (1564-1616).  A rhyme scheme of ABBA, ABBA (lines 1 to 8) and CD (lines 9 to 14) was used, having ten syllable per with five pairs of unstressed and stressed syllables.  

Sonnet 43 is the second to the last Sonnet and the most popular among the sonnets Browning wrote.  Then again, the sonnet deeply expresses Browning's love for Robert Browning.  First and second line especially refers to the protagonist of the sonnet, being referred to by the persona as Thee.  The third and fourth line refers to the spiritual realm of the soul in reaching the goal of living. In the fifth and sixth line of the sonnet, she states that her love for Robert Browning meets her everyday's need.  It can be noticed that the word need was used instead of the word want.  Basically, it characterizes the persona's unyielding love and it expresses the inevitability of Robert in the persona's life.  The seventh to the eleventh lines of the sonnet seems to deal with the purity and freedom of choice of the persona in loving the protagonist.  It refers to the intensity of love which can be equaled to either suffering and mourning.  It also refers to the purity and simplicity of a child's love with fervor to the saints.  Lastly, twelfth to the fourteenth lines of the sonnet refers to the undying, unyielding, eternal and unending love of the persona to the protagonist.

1 comment:

  1. pls put up the analysis of the poem.