Comparing the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Charles Baudelaire

Published: 2019-08-29 08:00:00
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Through their art of poetry, Barrett and Baudelaire show their role and their stand in the political, social and religious issues. They examine different themes some which are common for love, romance, gender, and power but in very different realms. The paper will juxtapose their roles and contributions in poetry and how they differ.

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning poetry

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent pillars of poetry during the Victorian era. Her poetry was not only popular in England, but also in the United States. ("Elizabeth Barrett Browning: The Poetry Foundation"). Barrett was famous for her poetry work and although she was fighting the act of slavery from which her familys fortune was based on, she was also fighting with lung illness. All of this did not wear her down as she was profound in the world of art.

Barrettes poetry was more on opening peoples eyes to see the truth. She had the courage to present her poem to the British Congress which had a deep investment in the politics. She wrote precisely addressing the issues that were considered inappropriate but she was reported having condemned categorically interfered with the politics. Despite moving to Italy, she was still adamant on her quest to be the voice of the people. Barretts poetry depicts the respect of womanhood as she tries to show how a woman was devalued in the society, for example in the poem of Aurora Leigh, the main character rebels the idea of making a woman be just a helpmate instead of a mistress. She fights for the womans right even in her writings. At that time poetry was considered to be appropriate for a male but she proved wrong by being remarkably involved in it. She presented her role well just like she wrote about women being Mistress and not helpers.

Barretts writing in the nineteenth century was an act of empowerment to the women as it was hard to find an educated woman ("Elizabeth Barrett Browning: The Poetry Foundation"). Middle-class women were especially neglected, Barrett despite her romantic escapades and writing, she wrote challengingly and vehemently against gender inequality. For example in her poetic novel, through her character Aura, she portrays a message on how women are not given a choice and the fact that it was time for a change. Her character Aura rejects Romney and chose to go for her occupation rather than getting married and she devotes her life to her art. Barrette reveals how a young woman in Britain struggled with the social norms that discriminated women

Charles Baudelaires poetry and the role one perceive for him as a poet

Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a poet who produced his poetry as an essayist and a critic. Contrary to Elizabeth, who majored on romance and love, his major theme was the critics and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe ("Charles Baudelaire - Charles Baudelaire Poems - Poem Hunter). His role was enlightening people on the political, social and religious issues. He was more concerned on how the leaders misused power by practicing corruption and causing war. He dealt more with explaining the issues that surround urbanization and modernity with regard to how people treated each other. His role was felt as he explained how a dog would be seen loitering in the streets. His poets depicted the issue of civilization and also the effects of modernity which involve drinking and isolation. His style is one of a kind as he was known to coin the word modern to sound and designate fleeting and experience in an urban metropolis. He was a charming poet who expressed his themes in a symbolic manner and a twisted approach like a puzzle. In one of the poems, he inexplicably explains his idea in a poignant way that leaves his audience a gasp. He uses a tone and mode that portray the rejection of belief in the nature of supremacy and the welfare of man. His main perspective is the well-being of the urban sensibility.

He uses irony to create his atmosphere and develops ideas with symbols. Charles is more in advocating the human rights of the role of women, the theological direction through the advocacy of Satanism, drug abuse, democracy, and the impacts it might have on the individuals. He had emotional distress and illness, but it did not deter him from writing as he published his first poem in 1857 ("Charles Baudelaire - Charles Baudelaire Poems - Poem Hunter"). He also described themes like sex, death, profane love, lesbianism, melancholy, corruption, oppression among others. Unlike Elizabeth, Baudelaire way of invoking feelings through the smell and fragrance created the mode of intimacy and nostalgia.

The essence of writing and settling in different topics yet close has something to do with the gender. Barretts poetry was much dominated by issues of women role, love, romance, and marriage. On the other hand, Baudelaire poetry focused on criticizing the social, political and religious issues in the society. The way each of them presented their work indicated the different role they had. Baudelaire invoked emotion and made people feel while Barrett involved people even in her life so they could learn. They also shared common themes like love, oppression, and democracy, but they were put in a different platform according to the circumstances and exposure.

Barrett and Baudelaires poetry discussed gender roles in a different but unique way. Barrett introduced the freedom of women from the dogmatic social norms and men command. This is clearly seen in her poem Aurora Leigh where Aurora decides not to get married to Romney but instead focus on her art career. She examines the end to women second place treatment and a start of liberation towards education and being reliable. Baudelaire, on the other hand, depicted gender role in terms of love. He talks of ideal love and the corrupted refractions of a woman. He explains the role of a woman as being a mother, a sister, a daughter, a lover and a companion. Given his state of mind, he also viewed women as polarize, inflexible, potential betrayer and an ideal of beauty. Baudelaire mostly viewed women with relation to sex but Barrett viewed women as the strength and embodiment of change.

Work Cited

"Elizabeth Barrett Browning : The Poetry Foundation". Poetryfoundation.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

"Charles Baudelaire - Charles Baudelaire Poems - Poem Hunter". Poemhunter.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

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