The Other Lover
In the Shakespearean sonnet, “The Sonnet-Ballad” by Gwendolyn Brooks, the speaker uses such techniques as: repetition, metaphors and personification to show how her relationship is doomed because of war. The poem shows how war can change a man who was once confident and unaffected by pain, into one who accepts death without a struggle.
In this sonnet, death is personified and shown as the speaker’s opponent in a struggle for her lover. Death is described as being coquettish and possessive. These attributes are used to describe death because they show how hard it would be to overcome this opponent. The descriptions show that death flirts with the man, in order to make him accept her. Once death has claimed him, the speaker can never have her lover back; he has been caught in death’s possessive arms. By giving these characteristics to death it is shown that, because of the war, the man is forced to court death instead of his lover.
Once her lover has gone to war the speaker says, “Now I cannot guess what I can use an empty-heart-cup for.” This comparison shows how lost the woman is feeling now that she has realized she will probably never see her lover again. It describes how lonely she is, as well as the fact that she does not know how to deal with what she is feeling. Her heart was once full of love for the man, but now that he is gone, it is empty. The poet also compares death to a woman. She describes death as being coquettish, meaning that it is like a woman who is flirting with her lover. The speaker also compares death to a woman by saying that death has possessive arms and a sort of beauty which proves to be impossible for a man to say no to.
Repetition is used in the poem to emphasize the woman’s dominating thoughts throughout the poem. The first line, “Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?” is...