The Vicissitudes Of Romance And Love

1354 words - 5 pages

Love is not always what one expects it to be. Shock, disillusionment and renewal are sometimes the eventual outcome of relationships gone wrong. Dorothy Parker, Mary Coleridge, and Robert Browning, all demonstrate these common themes, as well as others, through the use of romantic motifs in various tones, in the poems “One Perfect Rose”, “The Poison Flower” and “Porphyria’s Lover.”
In the first poem, Dorothy Parker's "One Perfect Rose", she describes the high expectations the speaker has towards suitors. On the surface this is shown in a materialistic sense; the speaker expresses her apparent discontent with the one “rose” her suitor has brought her because she expected more extravagance. In an article in “ Student Resources in Context” , this meaning is explored. “The rose is depicted as having the suitors love hidden within its petals as well as possessing a certain charm like an amulet would.” (Student Resources in Context) The classic romantic symbolism of the rose is downplayed as the speaker shows her cynical feelings on the somewhat cliche idea of the rose as a representation of love. The consistent iambic pentameter/diameter and repetition of the title, in a certain sense, mirrors the consistency in the way suitors approach her. Her suitors attempts are not unique enough to appease her deep longing to be a bride, to be taken away in a limousine; because they are all the same, not unique enough to take her hand in matrimony. Her desire for something unique is therefore deeper than a mere materialistic longing. The speaker has a grander sense of her self worth and feels that she deserves something much more significant, dignified and durable than that which is offered. The rose suggests impermanence and the fleeting nature of the relationship in her eyes.
At the other end of the spectrum, is a woman who did not realize her self worth until she experienced some form of trauma, wound or heartbreak. The speaker in "The Poison Flower" by Mary Coleridge, the speaker struggles to find happiness of her own after the end of a relationship. In comparison to the speaker in "One Perfect Rose" , this speaker seems weaker at first glance but she is actually stronger. It takes much more strength to gain enough courage to walk away from toxic situations and individuals in one piece. It is more difficult because one is usually blind to one’s partners flaws. Overwhelmed by infatuation and what one expects of another, one is usually oblivious to the shortcomings of these individuals but as relationships develop over time, true identities are revealed. At this stage, after suffering some poisonous anguish and distress, a decision is made to banish the source of this misery, “flung it on the rubbish heap to fade”. Having gotten rid of the source of one’s worries, one may miss the presence of the problem. This is somewhat proven as the case in this poem when the speaker has nostalgic memories of happier times in the relationship: “Fair is my garden as it once...

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