Sonnet 43 & Sonnet 116

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AQA Relationships Sonnet 43 & Sonnet 116


  • 1. Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare About sonnets Sonnet form of poetry is strict 14 lines in total First 8 lines present a problem (octave); last 6 lines solve it (sestet) Line 9 (volta) is a contrasting line which brings the resolution to the poem. ABBA ABBA rhyme scheme
  • 2. About Elizabeth Barrett Browning Lived in Victorian era 1806-1861 was a very famous poet from age 15! Died at 55; very poor health all her life Father was wealthy; they did not get along as Liz disagreed with his owning slaves Very religious woman Liz wrote 44 sonnets to her husband, famous poet Robert Browning, but published them anonymously as a foreign translation (Sonnets from the Portuguese)
  • 3. First 4 lines How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! Liz is ecstatic at the opportunity to speak of her love I love thee to the depth and breadth and height Spatial metaphor I love all of you; Liz uses standard measurements to measure something hard to measure: love ENJAMBMENT emphasies how wide her love can reach My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight Sonnet 43 was written before her and her husband had any kind of physical contact. This line means that although she doesnt know how their love will work out, she trusts him enough to reach out; stretch herself into unknown territory for love. For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. Religious words will be capitalised throughout the poem
  • 4. Lines 5-9 I love thee to the level of everyday's Most quiet need, Love you enough to keep you happy through everyday stuff; humble herself to keep husband happy (remember she was a very famous poet already!) by sun and candle-light. Love you through night & day, youth & old age, passion & calmness I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; Right = morality; remember her rebellion against her father as he owned slaves. Its natural for her to love him just as she believes it is natural for men to be free. I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. their love is untarnished; perfect Praise = glorification
  • 5. Lines 10-14 I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, Remember Liz was very ill her whole life; suffered greatly. She loves him with the same intensity/passion of feeling as when she was ill (original meaning of passion is to be affected deeply by something) Not fluffy or cute depiction of love but we can really feel her intensity and with my childhood's faith. Unquestioning/blind faith in their love I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints! Liz was homeschooled and extremely well-read for her age; by age 8 she had read Greek tragedies. As she grew older and read more about philosophy, she lost some of that fervour for religion. She rediscovers that intensity again in her love for Robert.
  • 6. Lines 15-17 I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! Acknowledges the complexities of love; through sickness and health. She loves him unconditionally. and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death. If, by the Grace of God, they are together in heaven, Liz will love Robert even more after they have died.