At the time when William Shakespeare wrote he was known to have already established himself as an actor and playwright and was working for the leading company, the Lords Chamberlains Men. In Draytons sonnet we see that he was a contemporary of Shakespeare, this poem comes from a long sequence of sonnets called Ideas Mirror. These sonnets were all inspired by his unrequited love for Anne Goodere, although he himself never married. As with Shakespeare his use of personification is extremely effective. Although their styles differ all three poets are speaking of their love for another person.
Elizabeth Barret-Browning writes to her husband and as a women writing, it is written in a tender and soft tone. Her language and style used is incredibly dramatic. To begin with Browning presents her love to her husband in a very private and loving way. She uses language and expressions like; I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, Browning writes from a female point of view and wants to make a commitment to her husband. The ideas of love in the three sonnets differ, as Draytons love is unrequited and he is not writing in a reality, he has no one to write to.
With Browning we know that she is writing to her husband and making a dedication to him. She writes in a serious yet, immensely loving form, we can tell from reading her sonnet that her husband is her life and the love she feels for him is described as endless. We see that Shakespeare writes in an incredibly confident manner, he is not writing to a person, as such, so his style differs from that of Browning or Drayton. Shakespeares sonnet is an explanation of love, he writes in his opinion and of how love can conquer all. As we know that Browning is a woman, her style and tenderness differs terribly from that of Drayton and Shakespeare.
Draytons intention in his sonnet is to try and win over his idol of love, Anne Goodere. His efforts are useless and in his sonnet he says he wished to make himself free, so we can see that he does not enjoy the love he feels for Anne and wishes to be free of it. The name of his sonnet being, Since theres no help, come let us kiss and part. Meaning since they can no longer resist each other, let us have one kiss and part each others company. He does achieve what hes trying to do, as when reading this I truly understood how he felt, he was trying to depart from this love.
Drayton goes onto say: And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart, That thus so cleanly I myself can free. He means that now, after this kiss, he is glad, extremely glad that he can get over the possessive love he once felt for her. We can clearly see that Brownings intentions are to make it perfectly clear to her husband and tell him exactly how she feels about him. She achieves this brilliantly and by her use of such outrageous, yet hooking lines, detailed with words and phrases such as, death, she produces her amazing sonnet: -and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
She talks of her after life and hopes that she will be allowed to spend it with him. Shakespeare intends to convince and tell every one of his thoughts on love, he is so confident that he is correct and that everyone will agree with him that he ends his sonnet with the rhyming couplet; If this be error and upon me provd, I never writ, nor no man ever lovd. Thus showing that if this sonnet is wrong and proved to be then he never writ it and noone ever loved. This can also be interpreted as Shakespeare being cocky, he is quite sure of himself and the accuracy of his sonnet that he is willing to make an extreme statement.
The general tone of Brownings sonnet is a heart felt, true expression of her love for her husband, she counts the numerous ways of how she feels and lines such as; With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! Showing that she loves him with the most powerful feelings of all she has experienced in her life, her tears and smiles and the breaths she take each day. This differs from Shakespeare as he has a general confident manner and is stating the feelings and meanings of love. He uses personification in the lines; Loves not Times fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickles compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. Meaning that love is not timed, it has no schedule of when to begin and cease, but reaches until the end, when death occurs. Love does not change over hours and weeks it stays constant until the brink of Judgement Day, death is it only let out. He shows how love, if true, will stay with the lovers until death. Compared to Brownings and Shakespeares general tone, Drayton does not use the powerful and heart felt tone that Browning does, neither does he state a general meaning for love, as with Shakespeare.
He seems to tell a story, or rather a tale, which he longs to happen between him and the one he loves, his love is not returned. He knows this and so at the end of his sonnet he uses the rhyming couplet; Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over. From death to life thou mightst him yet recover. This tells us that Drayton is willing to wait for his love, saying that if they ever change their mind, eh will be there waiting for them. He uses the form of a dramatic monologue and therefore does achieve a passionate sonnet. Shakespeare uses the rhyming form of abab cdcd efef gg.
This enhances his poem and the rhyming couplet at the end of the sonnet changes the tone right at the end. This is effective and can give a totally different meaning. This structure gives his sonnet a flow and the language used works perfectly. We can see that his presentation of love and the way it is structured means that Shakespeare is an extremely experienced poet and writer. Browning uses Petrachan form in her sonnet and gives it the rhyming form of abbaabba cdcdcd, this is also known as an eight line section, known as the octave, followed by a six line section, known as the sestet.
There is also a break in the thought and tone of the sonnet between these two parts. With Drayton his structure shows us that he was around at the same time as Shakespeare and uses the same rhyming scheme and couplet to finish. This again proves to be very effective and leaves the extra statement of the end to seal the sonnet to his love. All three of the sonnets are extremely original and all excellent. However, Browning seems to use the most powerful structure, source and form as it is written purely from her heart.
All three sonnets flow very exceedingly well and have a good structure behind them. In comparison to Shakespeare, Brownings use of structure is the most varied. It lends itself well to her meaning and rhyming such lines as; I love thee to the depth and bredth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight Just increases the exaggeration of the rhyme, the meaning is therefore exerted and we find ourselves wanting to reach on. Shakespeare use of rhyme in alternate lines is also effective and lends itself well to his language and style used.
The words fixed and wandring are designed specially for this sonnet, as there must be ten syllables and 5 stresses in a Shakespearian sonnet. Shakespeares use of language does not differ very much from Drayton as they were written around a particular period. Although in Draytons sonnet he is infact talking of getting rid of love and how he will feel after it has gone, he seems to want to be relieved of the feelin, Shakespeare however is talking of how great love is and how it does not alter.
In comparison Brownings sonnet is the most different out of all three in her presentation of love. Her compassionate tone and kindhearted comments rule over he sonnet and seem to guide her to all correct places of describing. The effectiveness that Shakespeare, Browning and Drayton all have is one to make us all want to experience love. The three very different sonnets are similar in their presentation of love, as they all enjoy it, apart from Drayton who now wants to be free of the hold it has on him. But as we can learn from Shakespeare, Drayton may find it hard to do so.