Sonnets from the Portuguese Questions and Answers
by Elizabeth Barrett Moulton

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What do Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese tell about human connection?

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In order to best answer this question, I am choosing to examine three distinct poems from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s volume Sonnets from the Portuguese: sonnets 14, 28, and 43.

In Sonnet 14, the speaker lists several ways in which she does not want her “Beloved” to love her. She doesn’t want a shallow, mercurial love based on physical attraction or pity, but rather an everlasting one: “Thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.” This poem implies that achieving a lasting connection with another person is no easy task and that many fail to do so because they don’t know how to love properly.

Sonnet 28 represents a less didactic version of love in favor of...

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