A Journey To Love Essay

1016 words - 5 pages

Sonnets from the Portuguese are a series of poems expressing the journey that Elizabeth Browning faces along the way of encountering love. This complete set of 44 sonnets, were written in the 1800s during the Victorian age. Unlike its other literary counterparts of this time, the woman plays a dominant role. This is surprising because the male typically is the dominant role and women are usually the hidden force of silence rather than voicing their opinions. The chronicle focuses on the love and devotion that she keeps with her future husband, Robert Browning. Browning encounters various emotions, including death and at first struggles to understand what exactly has come over her. The speaker is a very passionate woman about her husband. Browning is so passionate about her husband to be, that the name Sonnets from the Portuguese derives from the nickname he gave her, “My little Portugee”. The love she has for him is expressed in every sonnet but in a different form. The progression of the sonnets, introduces the irreversible concept of adversity to reach love, passion for your companion and growth before the beginning of a marriage.
Death seems to be her first companion before. The first sonnet discusses the first acquaintance she has with love. Its unexpected presence over whelms her and sends her into the notion that she is encountering death. She begins the first stanza of sonnet I with a thought she gathers from a poem, I thought once how Theocritus had sung/Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years,/ Who each one in a gracious hand appears. In this stanza, the Greek poet Theocritus’ is mentioned in reference to the feeling she has about his poem about shepherds wooing nymphs and shepherdess, then holding singing contests with their rivals (brittannica.com). This makes her consult the wisdom of ancients whom wisdom has held courage. The poem leaves her wondering why she has not yet been loved. Stanza II Browning is in tears, analyzing the feelings which she has on Theocritus’ poem, after which she examines her whole life. The following stanzas she metaphorically describing her life as a shadow and her hair being pulled by a mystic shape. The mystic shape she believes is death but in actuality it is love.
Before Elizabeth Browning's lover comes into her life, she feels as death is her first companion. Browning feels as death was controlling and killing her. In the first stanza she states, “The face of the world has changed, I think,/Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul”(Sonnet 7 of Sonnets from the Portuguese). Here she talks about how she views life and everything in it, has changed because she now has what she was missing. With this new experience, she finds out that without the love she has found, she would be as Cinderella waiting for her prince but to rescue her from the mystic shape. Suddenly she is...

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