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how do i love thee - The first line, ‘how do I love thee?...

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The first line, ‘how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!-’ presents an absurdity in its attemptto define an abstract concept, love by mathematically adding up the instances. Dealing in loftyand abstract ideas the speaker provides no image to make love concrete or easy to grasp.‘I love thee to the depth and breadth and height‘My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight’ the speaker says. Ironically though, there are nolimits to the soul; it is limitless, rendering it’s dimensions limitless too. The speaker thusconvinces the reader of the largeness of her love while dealing largely with abstract andphilosophical ideas. It may be noted that the poet has used internal rhyme, ‘depth’ ‘breadth’ inthe second line of the poem.Elizabeth is telling us that her love is never ending and will not cease to exist even after death,‘ends of being and ideal grace’. Going by the quote, ‘longetivity is the true test of love’,Elizabeth truly loves her husband. Elizabeth has chosen religious words, ‘ideal grace’ (relates tojudgment day) in the line. It reveals her religious background and that she relates love to religion.‘I love thee to the level of everyday’s most quiet need by sun and candlelight-’ the above lineconveys the Victorian side of her love, and the Elizabethan (pun intended) devotion that comeswith it. The speaker is telling us that she will go to any lengths at any time of the day or night,‘sun and candlelight’ to cater to her husbands smallest wish ‘most quiet need’. The line not onlyconveys her love for her husband, but also tells us about the mindset of the people of theVictorian era i.e. their belief that service was an important component of love.‘I love thee freely, as men strive for right-’ unashamed love; the kind patriots have for theircountry. Love with single minded focus. Elizabeth Browning wants to convey that her love hadeven these qualities too it. Elizabeth loved of her own free will, this was one decision she tookherself; not her tyrannical father.Elizabeth Browning suggests that she loves him with the same intensity she felt when she losther brother. Only in that case it was grief she felt; now it is love. Elizabeth Browning is thoughtto have gone through severe depression after the death of her brother. ‘with my old griefs’This is a wonderfully written poem describing with great passion her love for her significantother.Someone did an analysis on the poem which I find to be quite apt.Here it goes :-01. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.The number of ways she loves are numerous. She would need to count them.02. I love thee to the depth and breadth and heightHer love is three dimensional and therefore real, in the sense that all real physical things in theuniverse are three dimensional. Breadth is width, a measurement of how far across her love is.

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The Bible, Robert Browning, I love thee, Barrett Browning

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