How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. (Sonnet 43)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. (Sonnet 43)
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. (Sonnet 43) Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Sonnet in Iambic PentameterThis is a poem that Follows the Rules. It's a sonnet – a fourteen-line rhymed lyric poem written in iambic pentameter. Whoa, sorry, we slipped into literary techno-...

Speaker

We want to be very careful never to assume that the author of a poem is the same thing as the speaker – meaning that Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the Victorian poet you're studying here, isn't...

Setting

The Speaker's Own HeartIf you could visit the speaker as she's speaking this poem, we like to imagine that she's actually inside her own heart, rummaging around to find all the different kinds of l...

Sound Check

One of the first things people like to point out about "How do I love thee?" is that the words "I love thee" appear in eight of the poem's fourteen lines – more than half. The word "love" occ...

What's Up With the Title?

This is a trickier question than you might think. The poem you're reading, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways," doesn't actually have a title. The sonnet sequence that it's a part of is tit...

Calling Card

Personified AbstractionsElizabeth Barrett Browning, like a few other Victorian poets we could name, loves to describe beautiful abstract qualities with semi-personified capitalized words: "the ends...

Tough-O-Meter

(2) Sea Level Barrett Browning's famous sonnet may be a very formal poem, but it's also straightforward and relatively accessible; most of us can relate to describing different ways we love someone...

Brain Snacks

Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her husband, Robert, were both poets, but Elizabeth was far more famous during her lifetime. In fact, Robert was so much less famous than Elizabeth that he was referr...

Sex Rating

PG for suggestive languageMaybe it's just wishful thinking, but we'd like to think that all the passionate intensity in this sonnet counts for something, even if there isn't any explicit material....

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