Compare the ways the poets write about love or the absence of love Essay
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Love is an emotional force to be reckoned with, and a pure source of inspiration for poets. Modern and ancient, love is a common theme of poetry; it enables poets to discuss there most inner feelings behind clever literary techniques and paradoxical phrases.
Such techniques can be found in Shakespeare’s sonnet 130. In this sonnet he destroys the conventional view we have of such sonnets of the time. He takes the standard love sonnet and turns it on its head: “black wires grow on her head,” this, in any woman’s eyes is far from a compliment.
Contradictorily, Ben Johnson’s on my first sonne’ is clear and obvious: “Farewell, thou child of my right hand,” this statement clearly delivers a sense of lament from Johnson, not only this but he compares his son to Jesus, “of my right hand” this was the place that God gave his son. Even the title gives a clear indication as to what he is writing about, “On My First Sonne” the word “sonne” gives a sense of incompleteness as if we add a -t to the end of the word it makes sonnet, furthermore the poem is written in sonnet form however it is only twelve lines and not the standard fourteen lines.
All of this conveys further to the reader Johnson’s incompleteness through the loss of his son and his loss of love for life through this. “What he loves may never like too much,” this is the final nail in the coffin for Ben Jonson’s remaining hope in the world as he vows to never love something as much as he id his son for fear of loosing it like he lost his son. Such intense love for his son can be seen when he states “Ben. Jonson his best piece of poetry,” in this fleeting moment he denounces all his work in honour and in love for his dead son.
Such a sensitive tone cannot be seen in Shakespeare’s sonnet 130 until the end: “And yet by heaven I think as rare,” here we can see that William is declaring that despite his mistresses “reek” and her “wires” for hair he still thinks she is “belied with false compare,” this proves to the reader that love does not always take the form of beauty and glamour or ever good smelling breath, but can also be achieved through an honest personality and good nature, This proves to the reader that love is not based upon looks, and perhaps a true love is that which sees your partners flaws, admits that maybe other people are more beautiful, more special, more wonderful, yet that he loves her flaws and imperfections, making his love the most true.
A very different perception of love is described in Duffy’s Anne Hathaway; she talks in this poem about the sexual encounters Anne Hathaway has with her husband Shakespeare. The poem is written in sonnet for so as to mimic Shakespeare’s famous form of poetry. It also ends with a rhyming couplet which was also a technique commonly used by Shakespeare. “Romance.” This single word is highlighted by a caesura; this tells the audience that love in this case is romance and story endings. Duffy uses fairytale iconography to emphasise this point “torchlight, cliff tops…” this fairytale imagery shows us that Anne Hathaway desired a fairytale happy ending, and it tells us that on that second bed Shakespeare took her there.
In Armitage’s Home Coming he addresses a love based on trust “arms spread wide and free fall” this shows us that he believes that for his “two things on their own and both at once” there has to be trust involved, this description of “two things on their own and both at once,” is clearly describing the love he feels for his wife who he is writing about. “Im waiting by the phone” this shows the audience that he wants to call his wife because he understands the situation she is in however he cannot be a shoulder to lean on in such a situation as this because he is not with her in the phone box. The image of the phone box shows the desperation she feels and how she needs contact, not necessarily with someone she loves, but just a shoulder to lean on.
In all four poems I have looked at very different views and perspectives of love. Each of the poets produces a slightly varied definition of love; for Jonson it is cause for lament, for Shakespeare it is cause to learn, for Armitage it is about trust and guidance, and for Duffy it is about romance. This proves that love has a different meaning for each and every person it touches.