What Is Multidimensional Love In The Poem

826 Words4 Pages
How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barret Browning is an iconic and powerful love poem. The work is part of Sonnets from the Portuguese, a collection of poems that Elizabeth Browning wrote for her husband, poet Robert Browning. It is a passionate declaration of love from one who is in love, which had resonated with many generations of readers because of the rawness and relatability of its feelings. Throughout the text, the speaker uses a diverse array of literary techniques to demonstrate a multidimensional love. First, passionate love is conveyed in the spatial metaphor of loving with “the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.” Here, love is a substance that fills up and infatuates the speaker, creating a powerful drive that forces…show more content…
Then, the speaker moves on to describe a more tender and companionate love through a temporal metaphor. In comparing love to “every day's most quiet need, by sun and candle-light,” she portrays a long-term love that seems like second-nature. In contrast with the spatial love, this temporal love is rather muted, but sweet and caring. One would normally see passionate and companionate love as two separates phases, but with these imageries, the speaker insists that they can coexist, with herself as an evidence. The result is a description of love that is overarching and multidimensional in both its literal and figurative meanings. Then, the speaker appraises the transformative power of love. In a list format, she begins every sentence with the anaphora of “I love thee”. This use of repetition supports the tone of adoration and puts an emphasis on the…show more content…
Elizabeth Browning spent most of her adult life as an “invalid, ruled over by a tyrannical father who forbade any of his sons and daughters to marry.” She married Robert Browning in 1846 after a courtship that had to be kept secret (The British Library). Thus, the passion in the poem represents the exact kind that motivated Elizabeth Browning to abandon her family tradition to marry Robert Browning. Furthermore, the transformative power of the love described corresponds to the way Elizabeth Browning often credited her husband for saving her life. As the power couple of English poetry, the Brownings are remarkable for their ability to love with words. Among their collection of hundreds of letters and love poem, How Do I Love Thee happens to be the most iconic and descriptive portrayal of the love. More importantly, How Do I Love Thee is one of the most important love poems of English literature because of how its raw feelings resonate with generations of readers. Who wouldn’t remember being in love? Especially when it makes one feel like nothing else matters. With the inclusion of various dimensions and types of love, the poem has something in hand for everybody. From those who have just jumped into the fervency of a passionate love, to those who are enjoying a steady, companionate relationship, anyone could enjoy this
Open Document