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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

This 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-babble there for a moment....

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

If 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 love she has in there an...

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

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, like a few other Victorian poets we could name, loves to describe beautiful abstract qualities with semi-personified capitalized words: "the ends of Being and ideal Grac...

Tough-O-Meter

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 and having a...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

Maybe 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. After all, the speaker's l...
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