Literary Analysis Of A Sonnet By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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A sonnet is a poem which contains 14 lines. Usually, sonnets are about love. The Italian sonnet, or the Petrarchan sonnet, has an abba-abba, cde-cde rhyme scheme, with an octave and a sestet. The octave either asks a question or tells the reader a problem, while the sestet indicates a solution or comment. Additionally, traditional sonnets are written in an iambic pentameter rhythm. In other words, each line has 10 syllables, and these 10 syllables can be divided into 5 groups with 2 syllables each. Also, there is a strong-weak pattern of emphasis in these groups of 2 syllables. Elizabeth Barrett Browning incorporates the traditional aspects of the Italian sonnet structure in her sonnets, but she also adds her own methods to her writing. Browning makes sonnets 1, 28, and 43 unique with twists and literary devices.
Sonnet 1 emphasizes Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s battle with depression and fears about her husband. In the first few lines of the poem, Browning mentions Theocritus, an optimistic philosopher. The start of the poem appears positive and dreamy tone. “Theocritus had sung/Of the sweet years, the dear and wished for years,” (Browning) However, it is more apparent later in the sonnet that Browning did this to emphasize how her life has been the opposite of positive. Later in the octave, the tone shifts to gloomy. “The sweet, sad years,” (Browning). This indicates how Browning’s had actually been depressed over the past few years, and chanegs the mood of the sonnet. In
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