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Life In A Love Analysis

Author: Poetry of Robert Browning Type: Poetry Views: 1964

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Escape me?



While I am I, and you are you,

So long as the world contains us both,

Me the loving and you the loth

While the one eludes, must the other pursue.

My life is a fault at last, I fear:

It seems too much like a fate, indeed!

Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.

But what if I fail of my purpose here?

It is but to keep the nerves at strain,

To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall,

And, baffled, get up and begin again,---

So the chace takes up one's life ' that's all.

While, look but once from your farthest bound

At me so deep in the dust and dark,

No sooner the old hope goes to ground

Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,

I shape me---




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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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What and where are the figurative languages used here?

| Posted on 2017-10-28 | by a guest

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The rhyme scheme here, (if we exclude what may be described as poetic 'ferrules' at top and bottom) is a simple one of ABBA for the first 8 lines and then ABAB for the final 8. These two poets loved each other with a depth that is rare, and poetry is fortunate to have two such accomplished poets writing with such talent about their love for each other. This poem is an example of Robert's view. As has been mentioned, Elizabeth's Sonnets from the Portuguese shows how deep was her own feeling for her husband. Sonnet 43 is, arguably, the most well known love poem in English literature - "How do I love thee / Let me count the ways". In this poem Browning is using the tension create by apparantly contradictory statements; "Me the loving and you the loth / While the one eludes, must the other pursue.", the first describing his position vis-a-vis her, and the second describing their positions vis-a-vis each other. In my view it is this one unexpected word ("loth")which lifts the poem beyond the merely laudatory love poem because of the confusion it creates in the reader. It is also interesting to note that in this one place Browning's punctuation is ambiguous. There is no comma at the end of the line, theoretically it can be read as "...you the loth while the one pursues...", The only thing I can say about this is that Browning was, undoubtedly, one of the most well read and scholarly poets of the noneteenth century, it is unlikely to be an error. For whatever reason, Browning deliberately wanted not to have a comma there. What is being written about is not a love complete and rounded, but what is likely to be a temporary set of circumstances where Elizabeth, possibly suffering an acute episode of ill-health, has momentarily rejected Robert. The poem being his attempt to show her that his love is too vast, too overwhelming to be shrugged off as she may appear to have done. The next few lines may constitute some sort of apology to her - if she feels he has offended in some way, "My life is a fault at last, I fear: / It seems too much like a fate, indeed!". But, not only constituting an apology, they also allow of a reading meaning he is frustrated by the fact that he loves her forever, that his 'life is at fault' and it's his 'fate, indeed' to be thus. Through the poem, and especially the second half, the one over-riding theme is how Robert's love for Elizabeth cannot be gainsayed, it is fundamental part of existence for him; "No sooner the old hope goes to ground / Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark". "I shape me--- / Ever / Removed!"; which rhymes with the top 'ferrule' aba-abc; is a little complicated. I suggest that the word's meaning as, in this instance, that he has been taken away (from her love?) and it's position at the end is a possible prod to Elizabeth for her to consider his abject situation. But, as undoubtedly Browning and Elizabeth would both have known, 'remove' has a number of secondary meanings - being remote or distant from, having one's office or position changed, being a step away from the direct cause of something amongst them. The position of 'ever' in the middle so that it can refer to both preceding and succeeding lines is also interesting, and typical of Browning's poetry which leaves ambiguities open-ended. In short, in my opinion this is a love poem not describing a love towering across the ages; it is an individual poem,which Browning shared with us, but which nonetheless has one person, Elizabeth, as his intended audience. It describes, with intensity, how his love is for her whether she loves him or no. It, for me, is designed to get a response from Elizabeth of her avowal of love for him. Which, if I am correct in my opinions, I have little doubt but that it achieved Browning's desired end.

| Posted on 2013-12-09 | by a guest

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I believe that the poem is about a man who is in love with a women and obviously can not recieve that love back. In real life, however, he does eventually get her. So, the love is unrequited. Although I believe most of it is depressed rambling. But other I think the poem is a surpessed passion.

| Posted on 2011-10-31 | by a guest

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Actually, they did passionately love each other (read their letters for more info), and they both passionately loved poetry and literature in general. She did fear for her life because, for most of it, she wasn\'t particularly well. That and the fact that her father forbade all his children to marry (which didn\'t make for a very comfortable courtship environment) were some of the reasons why she pushed him away initially. But this poem was written in 1855, by which time they were already married and, according to their son, inseparable. So the two poems \"Life in a Love\" and \"Love in a Life\" (which is the one where he goes from room to room looking for her) were probably descriptive of unusual moments in the lives of two passionately involved people. Elizabeth Barrett Browning did have health issues and may have had moments of self-rejection (which sometimes translate into pushing your lover away), but all you have to do is read Sonnets from the Portuguese to know that she passionately loved Robert Browning.
Also, don\'t forget - these people were poets: their passion was not just each other - it was also poetry. So if his rhyme schemes seem convoluted to some, consider that he may have been experimenting, as poets sometimes do.
Hope that helps.

| Posted on 2011-09-23 | by a guest

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I don\'t think it\'s a poem of unrequited love; at the end he appears to use the home as a metaphor for the woman\'s body - \'Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune\'. This last line seems to suggest he does get her in the end, and is able to \'explore\' her. Browning also describes the time as \'twilight\', a time of courtship, mystery and romance, and now that this time has come, he has now has found the elusive woman.

| Posted on 2011-03-15 | by a guest

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I take a completely different view. I don\'t think the poem is hopeless. \"Loth\" can also be defined as reluctant. I think she is pushing him away, and he can sense it. But underneath, she does love him. She\'s just putting up barriers that he hurdles. I believe he is simply stating his faithfulness to her in this poem; it\'s not about a stalker or complete unrequited love. With just one look, she kills his hope and then rebuilds it. Their relationship is just rocky right now, but he is willing to see it through.

| Posted on 2011-02-09 | by a guest

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I love this it describes the stage at which I am at present. This poem to me is about someone being inlove with someone and pursuing but the person is not interested in the least, "me the loving you the loth". Many of us have loved and not get love in return. But he pursues her anyway. After a while you must give up and move on. Love is complicated, so but I too love a man and I am the loving.

| Posted on 2009-11-19 | by a guest

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I believe it's another example of the twisted minds Browning so often presents. The speakers seems a seriously dysfunctional character, like Porphyria's lover or the Duke of Ferrara. He is stalking some women and rationalising it to himself. The rhyme scheme is disjointed and uncomfortable which reinforces that the speaker is disjointed mentally. He alliteration of the d at the end is sharp and dark which again suggests an uncomfortable mental state. He seems determined that he will love her no matter what she wants and if something were to happen to her then he'd move on to somehting else. it's a freaky (but well cool) poem. Reminds me a lot of the main character in John Fowles "The Collector".

| Posted on 2009-01-27 | by a guest

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i think this pOem is about how he lived in the shodow of his love (elizabeth barrett) . she was a well known poet ,his career ddint start of so well . hints the title life in a love

| Posted on 2009-01-21 | by a guest

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If you know the love that existed between Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett, you would not say it was unrequited love. Elizabeth, addicted to opium probably feared she was losing the love of her life. He is only reassuring her that he will love her for all eternity, just as she tells hin in Sonnet 43...
She died in his arms...what does that tell you? M.A.D.

| Posted on 2008-11-29 | by a guest

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This poem was most likly about a man who loves a girl and she doesnt love him the same way back.

| Posted on 2008-11-14 | by a guest

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This is a story of a love that is unrequited, undying, and hopeless. (In this century, Browning would likely have been arrested for stalking and sentenced to therapy and medication.) The object of his affection has evidently told him that he is unloved and he responds to her with "Escape me? Never, beloved." He shows us that he recognizes the hopelessness of his pursuit and even his inability to turn away and give up the pursuit; "My life is a fault...", "it seems too much like a fate...", "Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed." He recognizes his own hopelessness. He should get some of those instructional "How to Pick up Women" CD's; Worked for me.

| Posted on 2008-07-10 | by a guest

.: analysis :.

=i think it's saying that he likes a girl, and he will never get her to love her the way he does. So he chases her and chases her, but he finally realizes he can't get her to love him the way he loves her. So says im finally gonna let you go, and love will find me again

| Posted on 2008-04-28 | by a guest


its kind of like...guy likes a girl...and like its said in the 1st 3 lines where he asks a question to himself and answers it on his own which shows that his heart which is arguing against his reasoning power and he himself says that he does not want the girl to leave him..which is de voice of his heart...he tries to convince himself that he will be able to convince her to come back to him ..and says..."while the one eludes,must the other persue"..which means that he tells himself that he should try to get her back in his life..but then the voice of his reaoning takes over and he thinks that whatever he will try might go in vain and that there isint much chance of him succeeding in bringing her back...and then he compares his loss to various things because of the fact that the girl might not love him at all,which is a risk for him...then he imagines that he has lost all his hopes which to him seem like falling on the ground in the dust after he tries again and again..and he gives up...and then he says that again very soon he is enlightened with renewed hope and after giving up..he returns to his old mark ..that his his old derire and wish to get her back...the poems title is self explanatory as there the poet says that his life lies in loving the girl

| Posted on 2005-10-04 | by Approved Guest

.: Analysis :.

This is an internal struggle to try and get the girl he loves struggles between his heart and his mind. One tells him to go after her because he loves her and hopes to change her mind while the other says it's a waist of time because she will never love him. These slides should identify important lines or passages, discuss various poetic techniques the poet employs, explain the significance of images or symbols, and present clear statements about the theme of the poem.

| Posted on 2005-01-03 | by Approved Guest

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