In this essay I will look at ‘Sonnet 116’, ‘First Love’, ‘Remember’, and ‘How do I love thee’ and in the passing I will mention ‘A Birthday’ and ‘Villegiature’.
Sonnet 116 was written in the Elizabethan era, they take the form of a Shakespearean sonnet. We are likely to see that the theme is either an argument or an emotional feeling being described by the poet. Shakespeare does this using his structural form of three quatrains consisting of four lines and a couplet that either sums up or answers the theme of the poem.
‘Remember’, ‘A Birthday’ and ‘Villegiature’ are poems set in the Victorian era. The Victorian era was a time of rapid change in society. Rapid urbanisation, scientific and technological progress, trade and expansion all took place during this period. This gave rise to uncertainties as well to new ideas. Women writers used their growing freedom to make their voices heard. Some such as Nesbit, advocated greater rights for women, while others like Rossetti and B. Browning expressed deeply religious sentiments. We see the frustrations of being in love and society’s views of love being written as well in these poems. ‘First Love’ and ‘How do I love Thee’ are written in the Romantic era. In this era, poets seem to talk more about the emotional experience of the individual as he feels attractions for the first time.
Sonnet 116 attempts to define love. It tries to tell us what it is and is not. The poem is a Shakespearean sonnet and each quatrain describes a different scene. The first quatrain tells us that true love is immortal and unchanging; the second establishes that true love is eternal, in the thirds quatrain the speaker again describes what love is not and is not vulnerable to time. In the couplet he stakes his own poetry as his wager if love is not all he has described it to be.
The opening line of the sonnet takes the reader into the theme of the poem. Love never changes and it outlasts death. The use of enjambment in the first...