Both poems generally give a positive overview of love; both poets suggest that love is never ending and can battle through bad situations. Shakespeare’s sonnet takes the form of argument, talking about the unchanging and eternal qualities of love whilst Browning’s sonnet is like a direct poem to her husband discussing the nature of her love for him.
Shakespeare starts the poem with the imperative “let me not to the marriage of true minds” which sets the tone and exploration of true love. Browning also starts with the imperative “how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!”She starts the poem with how suggesting that we can say that we love someone but we can never define the nature of true love. Browning then says “let me count the ways” which also suggest that love isn’t quantifiable so this imperative seems unlikely. This is just like in the 8th line of Sonnet 116 when Shakespeare says “whose worth is unknown” also suggesting that we will never know why we love someone so much. Both poets start by making inviting the reader to reflect on the nature of love.
Shakespeare then goes on to say “love is not love which alters when alteration finds” meaning that you can never lose love for someone because love doesn’t change and if it does, it was never real in the first place. This line reflects the subject of the poem that love is eternal. Browning however, goes on by using the internal rhyme of breadth and depth which gives the reader an impression that the love she has for her husband has increased further.