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An Explication Of "How Do I Love Thee"

666 words - 3 pages

An Explication of "How do I love Thee"Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How do I love Thee" from "Sonnets from thePortuguese" portrays a relationship and love in an exceptional manner that is notvery common by today's standards. In the opening line, the speaker portrays thejoy and delight felt by this kind of love and relationship. This is presented to thereader in the form of the rhetoric question, "How do I love thee?" (1). The toneconveyed is one of happiness showing this love to be as such. In the portrayal oflove, the speaker conveys it to be boundless: "I love thee to the depth and breadthand height/ My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight" (1-2). The language of thisabstract image portrays love to be uncontainable. This is emphasized by the phrase:"when feeling out of sight" (3). This image of the love is portrayed as expandingfurther than can actually be seen; it accentuates the boundless image of love. Thespeaker's "soul" adds to the this image as a soul is not an object which can becontained within the body, as it knows no bounds, so the portrayal of love can beviewed as eternal. This image also depicts the magnitude of love as the words "depthand breadth and height" show the vastness the speaker's love. Through out theentire sonnet the poet presents the idea of pure, unconditional and eternal love.The poem demonstrates the importance of companionship in a relationship, and itshows how love in a relationship is adaptable to each person's "Most quiet need bysun and candle-light" (6). The comparison between the boundless love previouslydescribed and this image of day and night highlights the realistic level that the poemhas achieved. It conveys a practical image of love in a relationship.The portrayal of love and relationships in the last six lines presents to the readera comparison to speaker's past. The statement, "I love thee with [...] my childhood'sfaith" (10) shows the innocence and purity of the poet's love. The child-like quality ofunconditional trust is also...

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