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Pre –1914 Poetry Comparison On Love

1400 words - 6 pages

In this compare and contrast essay I will compare four poems in detail and mention two in the passing to find similarities and differences. The poems and sonnets I have chosen to compare are ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning and Sonnet 18 and Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare

The two Robert Browning poems, ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ were written in the infamous Victorian Era whereas the two Shakespearean Sonnets were written in the Elizabethan Era. The styles of the poems differ in accordance to the difference of the time in which they were written. Pre-Romantic Era poems moved away from the idealistic concept of love towards a more realistic consideration of it, taking into account the social crisis of the time.

The sonnets written by Shakespeare in the Elizabethan era were written to challenge the unrealistic view of women in the Petrarchan sonnets, and this is visible through Shakespeare’s use of the English Sonnet. An English Sonnet consists of fourteen lines, each line containing ten syllables and written in Iambic Pentameter, in which a pattern of an un-emphasized syllable followed by an emphasized syllable is repeated five times. The rhyme scheme in a Shakespearean sonnet is ABABCDCDEFEF GG; the last two lines being a rhyming couplet. The sonnets show the contrast between Shakespeare’s English sonnet and Petrarch’s Italian sonnet. Before Shakespeare created the English sonnet from its Italian counterpart, many poets used the latter until the former was conceived. Shakespeare further developed the English sonnet form to create pieces like ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’ and ‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds,’ sonnets that used a structure similar to Iambic Pentameter, but a structure that Shakespeare had tailored just for that sonnet, sonnets that challenged the Petrarchan conventions. Likewise, the Victorian Era poet, Christina Rossetti credited with poems like ‘I wish I could remember,’ a feminist poem that was written from a woman’s point of view, a poem which used the Italian Sonnet form. Christina Rossetti has used both the English Sonnet and the Italian Sonnet, and this may be reflective of her background; she was born in England, but her father was Italian, so Italy, its language and customs had a strong influence on her life and her creativeness.

Sonnet 18 doesn’t really show any signs of the blazon, whereas Sonnet 130 shows strong signs of the reversal of the blazon conventions. It turns the positives into hard-hitting real negatives, such as how his mistress is not a goddess, but in fact a real woman. This brings a new light to the reader about the poem, and the poem takes on a fresh perspective. The convention used is the similarly the opposite of the blazon convention in Chapter Four of the Song of Solomon, a love poem from the Bible, possibly the first recorded example of the blazon convention; its around 3,000 years old,

The two Browning poems,...

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