Modern Love Analysis

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In the musical Hamilton, the character Angelica Schuyler recognizes it as a “fundamental truth” that she is “a girl in a world where [her] only job is to marry rich.” The story took place in the latter quarter of the 1700s but even nearly a century later, those societal standards had failed to change. In his poetic sequence Modern Love, George Meredith paints a scathing picture of “modern love,” critiquing it as a facade belying the fact that marriages contained little real love in his time and were, more properly, societally obligated inescapable contracts that brought misery to husbands and wives alike through their frequent pairing of people, not according to compatibility, but according to social and economic necessity. From the onset of this poem, there is a fundamental disconnect between the portrayed husband and wife. In their ironically…show more content…
Yet, its immediate pleasure keeps them embracing it. They “vain[ly]” regret their “dead black years” because they realize they would have it no other way. Addicted, as they are, to the silence, their regret for being together all these unhappy years serves only to placate their own misgivings at never having tried to escape their societally obligated misery. Too fearful, they lay “like sculptured effigies. . . wishing for the sword that severs all,” that is, death. “Modern love” keeps them as frozen, unchanging, and despondent as a tomb’s effigies, constrained and forced to go on together too long. Indeed, this sentiment is reinforced by the format, looking back, of the poem as a whole. Built like a sonnet, a constrained medium built to show love, but continuing on two lines longer than a sonnet conventionally does, and without the resolving couplet or a volta, this poem, in its very structure, shows the constraint and stagnation apparent to Meredith in “modern
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