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Theme of Love, Sex and Marriage

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The six poems present the reader with an interesting paradoxical interpretation of love, sex and marriage because the poets talk about importance love, the pain of unrequited love, definition of true love for the poet while one of the poets also talks about lack of importance of love and marriage in life. Such contrasting elucidations about love specifically and about marriage and sex in general provide the reader an insight of various human reactions to the three universal phenomena.

The last lines of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 state, “This thou perceiv’st, which makes they love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long”. These lines reiterate the importance of love in life because the poet yearns for his youth when he was driven by passion and love. However in his old age he is, “…glowing of such fire I am like a glowing ember That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,” which makes him realize that love is like an elixir which brightens life and once its gone life becomes dull and incomplete.  Shakespeare in his Sonnet 130 depicts his personal interpretation of love according to which love and sex has nothing to do with physical appearance because ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’. Hence he says, “And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare” this shows that the standards of beauty set by the society has nothing to do with love and sex because every woman is beautiful in her own way. Petrarch talks about unrequited love in his Sonnet 90 as he states, “had love's tinder in my breast unburned, was it a wonder if it kindled there?” the poet reminisces about a bygone time when he watched the object of his affection, to whom he had not declared his affection. On contrary Sor Juanna Ines De la Cruz talks about lack of importance of marriage and women’s dependability on men as she says, “Mine is the better and the truer way: To leave the vanities of life aside, Not throw my life away on vanity”. The word ‘vanity’ can be interpreted as a reference to the married existence of a woman who becomes her husband’s property and is acknowledged by her husband’s name. However the poetess believes that she prefers her freedom and individuality over the shackles of marriage and subservience.

Hence these varied perspective about love sex and marriage show that although the three phenomena are interlinked yet it depends on the preferences set by an individual in life whether he believes in the institution of love in relation to sex and marriage or not.

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