Sample Comparison Response: Sonnet 43 and Marrysong

Explore the ways in which the poet has used language and other poetic devices to present ideas in Sonnet 43 and Marrysong.

1.Free verse to express his ideas more openly as they come in mind,not restrict thaughts
4.confused tone
5.ways in which the women changes

Sonnet 43:
1.Petrarchan sonnet: rhyming schemes and divisions
2. first person narrator
4.iambic pentimeter
6. confident in the ways in which she loves her beloved

The speakers of Sonnet 43 and Marrysong have used  completely different language, tone and poetic devices  to express the kind of relationship they have with their beloved. From the type of  poem to the kind of feelings, both poems represent in some ways a perfect contrast.
Marry-song is a free verse, having no meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern or divisions. The speaker expresses his ideas more openly as his thoughts are not restricted and has its own impact on the readers. The first 14 lines talk about how he is desperate to understand the woman’s real feelings while in the last 3 lines, he realizes that she cannot be understood and so accepts her as who she is. On the other hand in Sonnet 43 the octave follows the rhyming scheme of a Petrarchan sonnet while the sestet follows the rhyming scheme of Shakespearean sonnet. In Browning’s “Sonnet 43,” the octave draws analogies between the poet’s love and religious and political ideals; the sestet draws analogies between the intensity of love she felt while writing the poem and the intensity of love she experienced earlier in her life. Then it says that she will love her husband-to-be even more after death, God permitting.

The dominant figure of speech in Sonnet 43  is anaphora–the use of I love theein eight lines and I shall but love thee in the final line. This repetition builds rhythm while reinforcing the theme of the countless ways in which she loves her beloved. Browning also uses alliteration, the repetition of ‘th’ sound again and again to reinforce her idea. Another very obvious figurative technique used is listing. Browning with a very confident tone lists the ways in which she finds love for her beloved. So intense is her love for him, she says, that it rises to the spiritual level ‘I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach’. She loves him freely, without coercion; she loves him purely, without expectation of personal gain. She loves him as if its an everyday need. She even loves him with an intensity of the suffering i.e the love acts acts as a passion needed to put grief aside and live up again, and she loves him in the way that she loved saints as a child. Moreover, she expects to continue to love him after death. This listing device used presents  her ideas clear, undoubted and strongly to the readers.
Marry-song by Dennis Scott has a confused and evaluative tone as the speaker lists downs many metaphors trying to evaluate his beloved’s changing mood, yet is unable to judge it.
The speaker has a desperate tone as he tries to evaluate the ever changing mood of a stormy and temperamental women whom he first compares with territory. The poem is an extended metaphor of this, explaining that the man explored her, and tried to ‘map’ her so that he could understand and predict her, but he fails to do so, and he keeps surprising her. He almost expresses a despairing and complaining attitude, but he seems more baffled by her. He also finds her a little alluring and intriguing in the way that her mood changes every day.
In the poem you can see lots of imagery that the author reflects of the seasons and of love. The poet is disturbed and he continues to talk about the difficulties of understanding her as he sees sudden changes in her mood from ‘stones in her voice’ to ‘cool water laughing’.He is alarmed to see ‘her love shorten or grew’ which he compares with trees seen from an unexpected hill(when you are unable to measure the real height of the tree). Both meaning that she is mysterious and constantly changing and compares love to geography, changing constantly. ‘The map was never’ true refers to the fact that every picture or idea that he established about her,ultimately changed. The poet speaks of the woman as a planet, with seasons and constantly changing geographical features, such as roads disappearing and wilderness reappearing. At one point he describes a mood swing as ‘Wind brought him rain sometimes, tasting of sea – and suddenly she would change the shape of shores faultlessly calm.’ The wind is shouting, the rain tasting of sea is tears, as tears contain salt, like seawater, and then everything would change, and she would be happy again. The poem concludes with the man putting an end to trying to figure her out, and takes her for who she is without questioning it.
Both the poems talk about the beloved with the speakers’ commitment to their respective relationships. However, the ideas and the way these ideas are expressed is in contrast as has been illustrated in the aforementioned arguments. In Sonnet 43 the speaker is confident in the ways she loves her beloved whilst in Marry-song the speaker is confused in the way his beloved’s mood, attitude and her love for him change.


Qurratulain Shahood

Class of 2011

Generation’s School


About Mrs. Nazir's Rhyme and Reason

Am I a bird for Maya Angelou? If yes, why do I and so many of you around me feel caged? why not free? Am I a free spirit, then?If yes, then why don't I locate my limits? Because I can see I have lost the way. The quest for enlightenment is taking me acknowledge just Him ..and this strife just becomes so rewarding and so assuringly peaceful when I see myself having adopted His favourite occupation- the one he designated to his prophets. What has obstructed this self -actualization so far?
This entry was posted in GCE O Level Literature in English, Poetry Anthology for 2010-11,2011-12 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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