Analysis of Expression of Love in How Do I Love Thee

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In ‘How do I love Thee,’ Elizabeth Barret Browning shows how her love can get through anything, even dying. In the beginning, line one leads off and hooks the reader’s attention. She inquires the audience, ‘How do I love Thee,’ a hard-hitting question. Repetition of this line is aperient within the rest of the poem. However, the reader will understand that the amount of affection is not what Elizabeth thinks should matter, it is overall quality of her love. This is where the poem gets its power. As an example, she says, “I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.” She is expressing what she would love with. And when they die, her love will only grow stronger.

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“How Do I love Thee” is written in iambic pentameter and is a fourteen-line riming lyric poem. Rather than following any other great English poem writer, Barrett Browning chose to be unusual. Unlike the other sonnets that are playwright, she writes her poem with the Petrarchan pattern. The readers tend to understand that Elizabeth is the writer of the poem. However, we might not even notice she could be the speaker too. To have written something filled with such emotion, I believe this poem could be her chatting with her spouse. No lady conveys that sort of love if it is not coming from her heart.

The beginning lines are abnormal. She asks a question in nearly a conversational manner. Elizabeth found the ways in when her love is shown and causes for her love. This makes me think of a girl counting on her fingers, and making a list of all the ways she loves him, which in my opinion, might be a something a 14-year-old girl would to try and do in this day-in-time. This poem comes from a different time. It was an era when most ladies were taught take care of the family things at home, such as cooking and cleaning, not writing literature regarding love. Lines 2-4 contains enjambment, when the meaning of one-line flows to the next. These lines create the thought that her love for him will never end. Even when she feels that God’s marvelous help may end, the love that she feels for him will stay the same. Her love is more than her own life and religion. There is division between the syntax of her love with normal terms, such as depth and height, and the use of the word’s such as soul and grace that imply spirituality. There is no standard love within this poem, her love has no boundaries. In my opinion, her love for her husband would still survive, even after dying.

Through the utilization of metaphors, the reader sees that Elizabeth associates her strength of affection for her spouse to things like a soldier fighting for freedom in war. Elizabeth says, ‘I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.’ Her strength and soul do not have any restraints, not even death. Her love for her husband is relentless. Elizabeth additionally alludes that we have a tendency to try to struggle for our love to keep it afloat. We tend to take love for granted. Elizabeth links romantic affection with common courtesy and beliefs. It shows desire that the author, Elizabeth Barret Browning, has in her heart. 

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