Sonnet 43 is a lie!!!

In Sonnet 43 we find a picture of love that, at first, seems very sentimental. Mrs. Browning starts the poem with this picture of love as an emotion that reaches beyond space and time and even after death. We can see that there is this image of extremes with her that, “My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight.” gives us a sense that whenever she feels too far to be reached by anyone, through love, she can reach to her lover.

We also see this in the when she describes the emotion with both the sun and candlelight. These two images are not opposites, because they both give off light, but rather, they are on different sides of the spectrum of light giving objects. On one side, we have the sun that gives off warmth and brings daytime. This symbolizes the happier side of the relationship, while everything is essentially perfect. The candlelight, on the other hand, is only used when in the absence of the sun. Candles are more often used in darkness and give light to the bearer’s path when they would otherwise stumble in the dark. This shows that Mrs. Browning thinks of love as something that will light her path in this life.

It is interesting to note the differences in the description of love, and even more so in light of the last line in Sonnet 43, “I shall love thee better after death.” It seems that this could go one of two ways. Either she expects to find her love after death as something that is brought to perfection, or she hated the man and this whole idea of love is a satirical cheap shot at the man who believes he has Mrs. Browning’s heart.

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