How is suffering in love depicted in Shakespeare s Twelfth Night and Blake s The Sick Rose Essay example

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How is suffering in love depicted in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Blake's The Sick Rose?
Although differing in both time and form, both Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Blake's The Sick Rose explore elements of suffering in the love exhibited by the characters of each text. The lovers depicted within both Shakespeare and Blake's works appear to love unrequitedly, and the emotional repercussions of this unrequited love cause suffering for both female characters. Shakespeare's Twelfth Night displays a woman, Viola, suffering as a result of her situation: loving her male friend Orsino, yet unable to love freely due her male disguise. Blake's The Sick Rose presents an equally unrequited love, yet explores one that ends with the ‘Rose’ being left destroyed.
Structurally, both texts explore the suffering in love of the female protagonists by exploring social views on the love of the characters. In Blake's The Sick Rose it may be perceived that the unrequited love felt by the rose goes against the values of society, and thus the structure of the poem displays an unsympathetic response to the heartbreak of the poem's female character. The poem is divided into two quatrains with a regular rhyme scheme. This allows Blake to create a sense that this highly emotive content is being presented as little more than process: one of a linear, pre-designed structure. This alongside the third person narration in which the poem is spoken may be suggested as allowing little sympathy and personality to be given to the female within the text, presenting the rose as a product of her time rather than purely a victim. Through this impersonal and mechanical structure the rose may be suggested as being left to suffer with little empathy or sympathy from the poem's speaker or the reader themselves. As a writer of the Romantic period, it may be suggested that Blake here makes a comment on the ability for women to love, suggesting that it is the male that controls their relationship and status, and that this poem displays the repercussions of loving unrequitedly for many women, not just the rose. It is suggested that through Blake's structure feelings of suffering as a result of unrequited love is shown by the speaker, presenting her as a rejection from society and allowing her little sympathy, which consequently suggests an even greater suffering on her part. This is similarly touched upon by Emily Bronte in her novel Wuthering Heights, in which Isabella is shunned by both her family and society as a result of loving unrequitedly. With her husband, Heathcliff, rejecting her, Isabella is left alone similarly to the rose, her life ruined and her reputation destroyed. As seen further within Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, societal norms further the suffering of unrequited love and heartbreak by the play's female protagonist in a way that parallels both Blake and Bronte. With Viola disguised as a male, and with both homosexual relationships shunned and gender roles strictly assigned, it appeared impossible for Viola to ever love Orsino the way she desires - as a woman. The suffering of this unrequited love, like Bronte and Blake, appears through strict societal norms. Shakespeare implements this feeling through his use of punctuation within the pair's discourse, with one notable example being 'Ay, but I know-'. Here Shakespeare presents Viola's abrupt halt of speech through the use of a dash, suggesting her desire to explain her thoughts on love yet quickly realising that she is not in the position to do so. In addition to this, with her disproportionately large number of lines in comparison to her male lover, Viola may be suggested as desperately attempting to reveal her thoughts while remaining inconspicuous. This would have evoked sympathy for Shakespeare’s audience, as through the use of this abrupt halt yet subsequent outburst of concealed emotion, Viola physically displays her struggle of containing her emotions, providing to Shakespeare's audience her…