Attitudes Towards Love in Poetry Essay

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Attitudes Towards Love in Poetry Love is an emotion that has been felt by people throughout time. It is extremely difficult to put any strong emotion into words, but through the pre-twentieth century ‘Love and Loss’ poetry we are able to see various different attitudes shown towards love and the way that love is conveyed through relationships. The poems referred to in this essay are “First Love” by John Clare, “How Do I Love Thee” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “A Birthday” by Christina Rossetti, “A Woman to Her Lover” by Cristina Walsh and “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning. By studying the love and loss poetry, the poets lives and the cultures they lived in, it is easy to see why people have different perceptions of…show more content…
Again this is death imagery and could be being used to symbolise the fact that this love is bringing pain. The way Clare uses verbs in this poem is dramatic and emphasises how strongly love is affecting him. He uses verbs such as ‘struck’ and he describes blood as burning around the heart. These images are violent and show the painful side of first love. However being a country man and growing up in Northamptonshire Clare uses country images with which he is familiar to describe the more pleasant, although still intense, side to love. Clare describes how the woman’s face “bloomed like a sweet flower”. Not only do these natural images show that he enjoys this love, but that he is also comparing her to a flower which to a country man would be beautiful. It appears that Clare’s attitude to love is that it is extremely overwhelming and intense. He says it “Seemed midnight at noonday.” This man’s love has turned his world upside down, and he appears confused. It has affected his mind and body and this is conveyed in the words “My legs refused to walk away”. From studying Clare’s background it is known that he fell in love at an early age but had to part from this woman. However he never forgot her, even when married in later life. This is shown in the last two lines of “First Love”: “My heart has left its dwelling place And can return no more.” Clare
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