If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be For Nought (Sonnet 14) Character List
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Written by Timothy Sexton
This poem belongs to a cycle of sonnets collected under the title Sonnets from the Portuguese. These sonnets are perhaps the famous love letters ever written. Since this poem, like the rest, were not composed with the intention of publication, but rather as genuine expressions from the heart, the speaker of is more or less expressing the feelings and thoughts of a moment of time of the author. The speaker is therefore, in a far more literal sense than usual, interchangeable with the poet.
The speaker addresses her beloved in the opening sentence simply as “thou.” Because, of course, who feels the need to address by name the person they love in such an expression of devotion? “Thou” is no mystery man who has become a literary mystery. “Thou” is the younger man with whom she had secretly fallen in love and would eventually marry in a defiant act which resulted in disinheritance by father: Robert Browning.
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Study Guide for If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be For Nought (Sonnet 14)
If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be For Nought (Sonnet 14) study guide contains a biography of Elizabeth Browning, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.