Literary Analysis of “Sonnet 14” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning “Sonnet 14” is one of the forty-four sonnets that Mrs. Browning wrote from 1845 to 1846. “Sonnet 14” or also known as “If Thou Must Love Me” is fourteen lines of iambic that express her love to her husband, Robert Browning, who was also a poet..
All of her forty-four sonnets were written expressing her love to Robert Browning (Zedge). In “Sonnet 14,” Browning develops the idea of how to properly love someone– not for their appearance or for pity– like how someone develops an argumentative essay. In line one and two of “Sonnet 14”, “If thou must love me, let it be for nought/Except for love’s sake only.” The first and second line setup up her thesis that presents the premises that she is trying to get across to the audience, who is most likely to be Mr.
Browning. Mrs. Browning’s thesis is she wants to be loved for just love because other things can possibly change over time. The first two lines are most likely to show the expectation for Mr. Browning of how to love her instead of loving her for appearance or any other reasons besides love itself. The audience can see that Mrs.
Browning wants to be loved unconditionally which is a point that appeared a few times throughout her poem. The word “must” in the first line is very important for the diction since it directly highlights her main idea to her audience. In addition, “must” in the line can be seen as an involved question to address if her lover truly loves Mrs. Browning. In lines two through four, Mrs. Browning makes a strong statement about loving someone based on their appearance: “Do not say/’I love her for her smile – her look – her way/Of speaking gently, – for a trick of thought.” These lines introduce a supporting point that loving someone based on their appearance alone is not authentic love. In addition, she makes a distinct comparison between loving someone on their appearance to a possible trick that someone’s mind is making.
She supports her point in various ways much like an argumentative paper. This can also be seen in how she supports her point about loving someone on appearance in line seven to nine by writing: ” For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may/Be changed, or change for thee—and love, so wrought,/May be unwrought so” She backed up her point about loving someone on their appearance by talking about how appearance can change overtime and blind the emotions of someone. The next supporting point that she establishes for her audience is not to love someone for pity or sympathy. May be unwrought so. Neither love me for Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry: A creature might forget to weep, who bore Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby! (Browning 9-12) She supports her argument by comparing herself to a”creature” that at one point needed pity, but not always.Timko tells their real story this way, “While their story might seem quaint, even curious, to many today, from the time of their first exchange of letters in 1845, when Elizabeth was a 39-year-old invalid, to her death in 1861, there was never a moment of uncertainty by either that they were meant for each other. Robert, the “rescuer,” like Saint George of myth and legend, arrived to snatch Elizabeth from her dragonlike father.
” (Timko). She is asking Mr, Browning if he going to love her after she becomes self-sufficient under his care. In line thirteen and fourteen, she countines her argument as she by writing: “But love me for love’s sake, that evermore/Thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.” She presents the problem of loving someone or her because of appearance and pity.
In the end, she gives a solution to the problem and her true idea of love to the audience. The solution to the problem of loving someone would be to give genuine and true love to someone for all of eternity. Mrs. Browning concludes, like in an argumentative paper, by presenting her ideas of how to correctly love someone, not just their appearance or because of pity, but by giving out authentic love forever. She supports these ideas of loving someone based on appearance by presenting a supporting detail of how appearance can change at any moment which will possibly alter the lover’s emotions and thoughts.
In addition, she questions whether Mr. Browning will still love her without pity. In the final lines, she presents her solution– to love “for love’s sake.”Biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a English poet during the Romantic Movement, was born in March 6, 1806 at Coxhoe Hall, Durham (Zedge). Mrs.
Browning is known for her works such as “Sonnet from the Portuguese” and “Aurora Leigh” (Britannica Biographies). She was married to Robert Browning, who was also a English poet like her. In her poetic works, Browning can be seen for her determination in poetry, the idea of love, and gender inequalities in England. When Ms. Browning was age of firthteen, she developed a lung illness, which will resulted in a spinal injury in the following year and living with her brother, Edward (Zedge).
During her health setbacks, Ms. Browning was interested in literature from England, Greek, and Rome by teaching herself Hebrew and learning different culture. The inspiration from writers such as William Shakespeare resulted in the creation of her first poem. “The Battle of Marathon,” a poem that retells The Battle of Marathon in Greece which was between the Athenian and Persian forces. However, more struggle occurred in her life, mother unfortunately died within two years and financial problems of her father’s business which forces them to move to London. As Ms. Browning went through the difficult problems in her life, she still managed to published two poems under her name “Aeschylus’s Prometheus” and “The Seraphim and the Other Poems.” Browning witnessed another disaster in her life, the lost of her brother, who drowned.
Again, she was still able to write and create a collection of poems called “Poems” (Moulton). As she continues to write poems which will gain more attention in her works, she catches the eyes of her future husband, Robert Browning, a English poet in the Victorian Age. The two poets continues to communicated with each other through letters.
However, Mrs.Browning’s father was angered by the love between the two people. Eventually, Mr. Barrett disinherited her from his family because she did not asked permission to be married with Mr.
Browning. Mrs. Browning wrote about the experience of marrying Mr.
Browning without the permission of Mr, Barrett in her poem ,”Sonnet 14,” which was one of the poem seen in “Sonnets From the Portuguese.” The collection of love poem or also known as “Sonnets From the Portuguese” was written for her love interest in Mr. Browning.
She written the collection of poems during their secret courtship. With the marriage of between the two poets, Mr. Browning overcome her health problems and continued to produce more poetry (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition).
During the Victorian Age, Women can be seen lower than men from education to power (Hall). The role of women in the Victorian Age can be seen as being a wife and taking care of chores in their household such as cleaning and taking care of the children. However, Mrs. Browning received a education that men would receive which is uncommonly for a women to have a education for males (Gifford).
Without the education that Mrs. Browning received, she would not be able to read and write all of her influential poems. Browning wrote a poem called “Aurora Leigh” which presents the idea of inequalities between males and females in her sexist society.
Mrs. Browning was setting the example of how an educated women could become if they received the proper education like men did. Mrs. Browning was dedicated in her poetic works and shared her ideas of love and differences between genders in Victorian Age.
She struggled through mental, health, and financial problems in her life such as loss of family members and contracting a lung diseases. However, she still managed to produced her poetry with the setback that she occured. With the marriage of Mr.
Browning, Ms. Browning was inspired to write more poetry about her love with Mr. Browning, which increases her popularity and improved her poetry. In addition, she brings the ideas of inequalities between women and man. She believed that women are capable to do anything that men can do.
My Response to “Sonnet 14” “Sonnet 14” w as written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a Victorian poet in the early 1800s. Mrs. Browning presents the ideas of love in a relationship in her poem. The poem was written for her husband, Robert Brown, who was also a poet like her.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is known to write about the concept of love in her poem. The poem attracted me because it shows me the idea of how to properly love someone because of unconditional love, not for appearance or sympathy towards someone. Everyone has a reason to start a relationship with someone ranging from money to emotions. The poem caught my attention at the beginning of the poem which she writes: “If thou must love me, let it be for nought/Except for love’s sake only.
Do not say,” (Browning 1-2). It was interesting how Mrs. Browning does not want to be loved for any other reason, unless someone truly loves the her.
Plus, she gave a straightforward answer on how to love someone by saying for “Except for love’s sake only” in line two. The phrase in line two means to love someone with authentic and real love “Do not say,/’I love her for her smile—her look—her way/Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought” (Browning 2-4). I loved how she does not want to be loved for her appearance because appearance can possibly change over time which can alter someone’s actual emotion to a person. In addition, the love based on appearance is temporary since appearance does not stay the same which will change the emotions of the lover at anytime.
The way she uses “trick of thought” in line four helps me understand why we should not based love on appearance by comparing someone’s fake emotion and thoughts of someone’s appearance to someone tricking. Browning explains whether Mr. Browning will still love her after she becomes self-sufficient by writing: May be unwrought so. Neither love me for Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry: A creature might forget to weep, who bore Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby! (Browning 9-12) The lines appeals to pathos for the audience and I by seeing if Mr.
Browning actually will love her after she becomes self-sufficient. This section of the poem teaches the audience and me about loving for someone for pity. If we loved someone for pity, it is not genuine love which is the type of love that Mrs.
Browning wants to have. I felt that taking someone for pity would be blinding the person who need the love with fake love. The poem catches the attention of the audience and I by teaching us to love someone for genuine emotions and thoughts, not appearance and pity.
Mrs. Browning does not want to be loved for any other reasons, because of love itself. She explains that loving someone because of appearance is temporary, not permanent because emotions will change if love based on appearance. In addition,we should not love someone for pity because the person being loved will receive fake love, not authentic love. The poem teaches us about proper use of love in a relationship.