The Structure of Aphra Behn's "One Her Loving, Two Equally"

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The Complexity of Love in "One Her Loving Two Equally" by Aphra Behn

The poem by Aphra Behn titled One Her Loving Two Equally is a narration that describes the love triangle where a woman loves two people on a similar scale. The poet features a woman as the subject with the primary theme being the complexity of love and the circumstances that complicate the relationship that the speaker has for both Damon and Alexis. The author employs artistic decisions that comprise the use of stanzas that communicate specific information and the use of a situation, and setting that is relevant to understanding the subject of the poem.

The Organization of Stanzas

The element of the poem is the organization that ensures that the stanzas are structured to constitute different themes. The importance of this arrangement is that the poet intended to communicate one issue at a time for each stanza. For example, in the first stanza, it is noted that the poet introduces the subject where the reader where one gets a feeling of love being apparent. It is stated that "Divided equally 'twixt two?; Damon had ne'er subdued my heart; Had not Alexis took his part" (Behn 6). The inference that one gets that a woman is not sure who they really love and whether Damon and Alexis are loved on a similar sale. It thus implies that the poet is unable to make a choice on who she loved more than the other and they were causing her to become unsure of her appreciation.

The Feelings and Confusion of the Speaker

The second stanza comprises the feeling that the speaker has for their loved one where it appears that there is an affection that the author has for another. It is stated that "Then I for Damon sigh and mourn; But when Alexis I do miss" (Behn 5). It is appropriate in the structuring of the poem because as opposed to the first, the second is where the speaker clarifies that she misses her Damon when Alexis is present. However, it also follows that when she falls in love with Damon even in situations where the Alexis is around. The paragraph is designed to ensure that the author communicates the problem explicitly and demonstrate the manner in which confusion results.

The Conclusion and the Risks of Love

The third and final paragraph is designed so that the stanza is used to communicate the conclusion of the author's message in accordance with the stipulated love scene. It is stated that Damon was perceived as a bad body because he is her dream and adventure. However, it is meant for the reader to understand that the outcome for the woman is that she could end up with a heartache. The author writes "restless fever in my blood; one golden-pointed dart take back" (Behn). The overall impression is that the author to understand the need to remain focused on the relationships even though it is a risky adventure.

The Speaker, the Situation, and the Setting

The speaker's role plays a key function in the overall structure of the poem. The speaker is a girl who is as frustrated and who is evidently angry that he had fallen in love with two different poems. It is then that one notices the relevance of the structure used of being brief and short structured to communicate the primary subject. The fact that the speaker is concerned about their love, which forms a key feature in the formation of the poem. It implies that the use of direct words emphasizes the belief that one would have for their love because it underscores why it is necessary to be self-conscious about one's feelings.

Furthermore, the situation of the poem is another significant factor that is outlined to denote a confused and troubled tone. It is thus important that the poem ensured that the girl was both confused and troubled because it appeared that there was an element of concern. Related traits that are common in such poems in the use of a questioning approach that enhances the manner in which one would respond to the central theme of love.

Lastly, the setting of the poem proves to be a key element in the formation of the poem and in the communication of the theme that is apparent. The set makes use of the occasion upon which the poem is structured. The background is that of a situation where the girl is having a disturbed feeling and having challenges expressing their thoughts in the form of a poem. It thus follows that the choosing of the poem makes use of the fact that the background itself allows for the expression of human desires pertaining the subject of love.


In summary, it is worth outlining that the structure of the poem is convenient for the setting, the situation, and in underscoring the speaker's position. Overall, the reader gets the impression that the speaker is confused that she is in love with two men. The use is specific stanzas that communicate different but common themes ensures that the situation and setting of the poem are not only relevant to the understanding of the speaker's role but it also enhances the stylistic decision-making of the composition.

Works Cited

Behn, Aphra. “On Her Loving Two Equally.” Poetry Archive (2018): n. pag. Web.

October 30, 2023



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