The theme of "If thou must love me" is love someone because you are in love, not to say that you have been in love, or for superficial features that may change, or that your view of may change. The poem is written as a sonnet, a form indicating the poet's Shakespearen influence, and every other line contains end rhyme. The end rhyme is integral because it brings together the poem following the hypens which indicate pauses and interjections. The speaker is a first person narrator who is speaking to someone that appears to a past lover. The position of the speaker is important because the message presented in the poem is given more effectively than if the speaker was directing their feelings towards a general group. The reader can sense emotion that the speaker is feeling because they are putting their feelings out in the open, not censoring them for a particular audience.
The hyphens, an aspect of the punctuation, serve a purpose in this poem because they express the emotion that the speaker is feeling. For example, one can see the exasperation of the speaker when she states, " Do not say' I Love her for her smile- her look-her way,'" (3). Love is personified in this poem when the speaker states, "Love's sake...love's eternity," (13-14). Love in the literal sense is an idea or concept, there for it can not have a time frame or a possession, but it is a nice detail because love is just as important as a person or most-prized possession, and often spoke about in that manner. An interesting detail of this poem is the capitalization of Beloved when the speaker states, "For these things in themselves, Beloved, may/," (7). Beloved is capitalized like it is refering to a person, but it is really refering to features mentioned in previous lines. The repetition of the word love is ironic because the speaker is telling their audience not to overuse love; do not love everything because love is so special, that it should not be constantly thrown out about everything, yet the word is used numerous times. The overuse of love illustrates the speaker's point though because she is telling the audience not to love but for the really important things, and repeating the word illustrates how it is not just overused in conversation, but overused in general.
"If thou must love me" initially struck me because is sounded similar like Meredith's speech to Derek in Grey's Anatomy, which is one of my favorite TV shows. However, it has a good message, do not love something or someone for their superficial features, but for what is inside them because that is who someone really is. It is a good message to take away, but it is also very cliche`. We all have probably read other poems or novels or watch a movie that had a similar message, but a good message will probably never die. I also like the old English that the poem is written in.