Opposing Gender Views in Emerson’s Give All to Love and Browning’s Sonnet 43

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Opposing Gender Views in Emerson’s Give All to Love and Browning’s Sonnet 43  

   The concept of love has long been the preferred topic of conversation among prominent male poets. Towards the closing of the sixteenth century, however, the emerging of the female poet took place. With the introduction of Queen Elizabeth, an initial path was now cleared for future women poets to share their views on the acclaimed topic of love. Due to this clashing of ideas, the conflicting views of two exceedingly different sexes could manifest itself. Who better to discuss the topic of love then Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who expresses her ideas with intelligence comparable to the best male poets, and Emerson, world renowned for his poignant opinions? In accordance with the long history of conflict between males and females, both Emerson’s "Give All to Love" and Browning’s "Sonnet 43" convey the pleasure love brings, but while Emerson’s poem urges the retention of individualism in a relationship, Browning pleads for a complete surrender to love.

Ralph Waldo Emerson has a strong history of aggressive, "masculine" behavior. "We hear his grand, assuring words, feel his powerful charm…he is impenetrable" (Whicher 39). Emerson felt that it was necessary to retain his self-dependence at all times, never swaying from his personal choices. "He taught self-reliance and felt self distrust, worshipped reality and knew illusion, proclaimed freedom and submitted to fate" (Whicher 40). Although Emerson’s confidence in his self may have reflected some sort of macho-ism or frigidness, this attitude is simply Emerson demonstrating his cool and relaxed charma: "Emerson is teaching his tested secret of insulation from calamity: ‘Live in the soul’" (Whic...

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...iscarded on a whim. Rather, it is something that will accompany you far beyond your years on this earth and through all of time. It is truly a gift and should not be treated in any other regards.


Works Cited

Magill, Frank. "Biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning." Critical Survey of Poetry 1 (1992): 394-396.

Mermin, Dorthy. "Sonnets from the Portuguese." World Literature Criticism 1 (1992): 360-365.

Patmore, Coventry. "Mrs. Browning’s Poems." North British Review 26 (1857): 446-447.

Perry, Bliss. "Emerson Today." Princeton University Press (1931): 84-86.

Radley, Virginia. "Elizabeth Barrett Browning." Exploring Poetry-Gale Research (1972): pg. #5.

Whicher, Stephan E. "Emerson’s Tragic Sense." Emerson, a Collection of Critical Essays (1962): 39-45.

Yannella, David. "Artful Thunder." Poetry Criticisms 18 (1982): 69-96.



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