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10/15/2018

Critical appreciation of “Because I could not stop for Death”.


                                                 Emily Dickinson was an American poet who lived a major part of her life in seclusion and pursued spiritual quests relentlessly. She composed nearly 1800 poems which were published in 1890 in a collection four years after her death. “Because I could not stop for Death” is one of those poems. The poem deals with one of the recurrent themes of her poetry     death or mortality.    The poem presents the experience of death of the speaker who imagines that she died centuries ago. She speaks in first person in the context of past time.  The poem opens dramatically with the speaker's confession that she was busy with her daily labour and leisure of life when Death, along with Immortality, came in a carriage to pick her up. They passed school children, fields of ripe grains and the setting sun. Finally, they reached a grave described as a house. The journey still continued towards eternity.             This seemingly simple journey is not simple at all. The poet uses here symbols to convey the intended meanings. The journey is the journey from life to death. The carriage is the hearse that carries a dead body to the grave. The school is the early part of life. The gazing grains symbolize the old age. The setting sun is a symbol of a dying person. The house is a grave. The horses head towards eternity is the symbol of soul's journey into endless future. Thus, the speaker suggests that Death remained with her through her childhood, midlife and old-age. Even after the end of her physical existence, her journey continued.           The poem has the structure of a lyric with some qualities of a hymn. It consists of twenty-four iambic lines arranged in six quatrains. For example, the first line is comprised of five iambic feet and the second line is comprised of three iambic feet. It is worked out below:               Because/I could/ not stop/ for Death_               He kind/Iy stopped/ for me_     The general rhyming pattern of each stanza is abcb. In the first stanza, the first line and third line end with “Death” and ”Ourselves”  respectively. These words do not rhyme. The last word of the second line, ”me” rhymes with the last word of the fourth line, ”Immortality”. However, the later stanzas are not perfectly rhymed because there are variations. She uses “half rhyme” or “slant rhyme” as in the third stanza in which “Ring” does not rhyme with “Sun”. The poem resembles a hymn. A hymn is a religious song sung in praise of God or some other spiritual beings. This poem praises Death. Its quatrains are similar to that of a hymn. Its lyrical quality is also like that of a hymn.        Emily Dickinson's use of figures of speech heightens the poetic quality of this poem since the figures of speech help her suggest the intended meanings rather than state them. She mainly uses in it alliterations, personifications, metaphors, and an anaphora which effectively serve the purpose. She also uses capitalisations to emphasize particular ideas.             This short lyric is an extraordinary poem in which Emily Dickinson reveals her calm acceptance of death.
               
                         Emily Dickinson was an American poet who lived a major part of her life in seclusion and pursued spiritual quests relentlessly. She composed nearly 1800 poems which were published in 1890 in a collection four years after her death. “Because I could not stop for Death” is one of those poems. The poem deals with one of the recurrent themes of her poetry     death or mortality.

The poem presents the experience of death of the speaker who imagines that she died centuries ago. She speaks in first person in the context of past time.  The poem opens dramatically with the speaker's confession that she was busy with her daily labour and leisure of life when Death, along with Immortality, came in a carriage to pick her up. They passed school children, fields of ripe grains and the setting sun. Finally, they reached a grave described as a house. The journey still continued towards eternity.

         This seemingly simple journey is not simple at all. The poet uses here symbols to convey the intended meanings. The journey is the journey from life to death. The carriage is the hearse that carries a dead body to the grave. The school is the early part of life. The gazing grains symbolize the old age. The setting sun is a symbol of a dying person. The house is a grave. The horses head towards eternity is the symbol of soul's journey into endless future. Thus, the speaker suggests that Death remained with her through her childhood, midlife and old-age. Even after the end of her physical existence, her journey continued.

       The poem has the structure of a lyric with some qualities of a hymn. It consists of twenty-four iambic lines arranged in six quatrains. For example, the first line is comprised of five iambic feet and the second line is comprised of three iambic feet. It is worked out below:
             Because/I could/ not stop/ for Death_
             He kind/Iy stopped/ for me_
   The general rhyming pattern of each stanza is abcb. In the first stanza, the first line and third line end with “Death” and ”Ourselves”  respectively. These words do not rhyme. The last word of the second line, ”me” rhymes with the last word of the fourth line, ”Immortality”. However, the later stanzas are not perfectly rhymed because there are variations. She uses “half rhyme” or “slant rhyme” as in the third stanza in which “Ring” does not rhyme with “Sun”. The poem resembles a hymn. A hymn is a religious song sung in praise of God or some other spiritual beings. This poem praises Death. Its quatrains are similar to that of a hymn. Its lyrical quality is also like that of a hymn.
      Emily Dickinson's use of figures of speech heightens the poetic quality of this poem since the figures of speech help her suggest the intended meanings rather than state them. She mainly uses in it alliterations, personifications, metaphors, and an anaphora which effectively serve the purpose. She also uses capitalisations to emphasize particular ideas.
           This short lyric is an extraordinary poem in which Emily Dickinson reveals her calm acceptance of death.

Milton as a Sonneteer.

                                     Considered from the background of sonnets in English it may be said that Milton was a minor poet of sonnet. He wrote only twenty-three sonnets in all, of which On His Blindness and On the Late Massacre in Piedmont are the best. Six of these twenty- three sonnets belong to the period of Milton's youth and immaturity, though the hand of the master is visible in them. The other sonnets were written during the period from 1645 to 1658, which is marked as the period of his prose writing. The latter sonnets of Milton are the most personal of his utterances. They represent the emotional moments in his later life, and record his experiences which found no adequate expression in his prose writing.         Milton characteristically made use of the form of sonnet at a time when its vogue was almost past. His formal model is not the English sonnet, with three quatrains and couplet at the close, but the Italian model with octave and sestet.        On the basis of their themes Milton's sonnets can be divided into about four categories. Firstly, there is the group of sonnets which deal with great public events and personalities. The sonnets to Cromwell, Vans, and Fairfax, and the one on The Late Massacre in Piedmont, are of this category.        Secondly, there are sonnets which express personal emotion of the poet. “On His Having Arrived at the Age of Twenty three”, the two sonnets on his blindness and the one written in memory of his second wife are sonnets of this type. They combine a poignant pathos with an earnest ethical and religious idealism. Thirdly, there are sonnets of addresses to personalities like Lawes, Skinner, Edward  Lawrence, Lady Margaret Key, and an unidentified virtuous young lady, and the sonnet expressing grife for Mrs, Katherine Thomson.         From the above account it is clear that Milton widened the scope of the sonnet to a considerable degree. Before Milton, the sonnet form was used only as a medium of expressing the emotion of love, but Milton used the sonnet form to express his deeply felt emotions on contemporary politics, religion, public figures, and womanhood, relationship between husband and wife, and personal matters, such as his own blindness. Milton modelled his sonnets on Petrarchan form, but he did not follow it blindly. In the Petrarchan or Italian sonnet, there is a clear division between the octave and the sestet, with a fixed rhyme-scheme, but in Miltonic sonnet, the division between the octave and the sestet is not clear-cut, and the syntax tends to overflow the divisions of octave and sestet. So in structure it is more complex than the Petrarchan form.  W. J. Long observes, “This Italian form of verse nearly to the point of perfection. In them he seldom wrote of love, the usual subject with his predecessors, but of patriotism, duty, music, and subjects of political interest suggested by the struggle into which England was drifting.”

                                   Considered from the background of sonnets in English it may be said that Milton was a minor poet of sonnet. He wrote only twenty-three sonnets in all, of which On His Blindness and On the Late Massacre in Piedmont are the best. Six of these twenty- three sonnets belong to the period of Milton's youth and immaturity, though the hand of the master is visible in them. The other sonnets were written during the period from 1645 to 1658, which is marked as the period of his prose writing. The latter sonnets of Milton are the most personal of his utterances. They represent the emotional moments in his later life, and record his experiences which found no adequate expression in his prose writing.
       Milton characteristically made use of the form of sonnet at a time when its vogue was almost past. His formal model is not the English sonnet, with three quatrains and couplet at the close, but the Italian model with octave and sestet.
      On the basis of their themes Milton's sonnets can be divided into about four categories. Firstly, there is the group of sonnets which deal with great public events and personalities. The sonnets to Cromwell, Vans, and Fairfax, and the one on The Late Massacre in Piedmont, are of this category.
      Secondly, there are sonnets which express personal emotion of the poet. “On His Having Arrived at the Age of Twenty three”, the two sonnets on his blindness and the one written in memory of his second wife are sonnets of this type. They combine a poignant pathos with an earnest ethical and religious idealism. Thirdly, there are sonnets of addresses to personalities like Lawes, Skinner, Edward  Lawrence, Lady Margaret Key, and an unidentified virtuous young lady, and the sonnet expressing grife for Mrs, Katherine Thomson.
       From the above account it is clear that Milton widened the scope of the sonnet to a considerable degree. Before Milton, the sonnet form was used only as a medium of expressing the emotion of love, but Milton used the sonnet form to express his deeply felt emotions on contemporary politics, religion, public figures, and womanhood, relationship between husband and wife, and personal matters, such as his own blindness. Milton modelled his sonnets on Petrarchan form, but he did not follow it blindly. In the Petrarchan or Italian sonnet, there is a clear division between the octave and the sestet, with a fixed rhyme-scheme, but in Miltonic sonnet, the division between the octave and the sestet is not clear-cut, and the syntax tends to overflow the divisions of octave and sestet. So in structure it is more complex than the Petrarchan form.
W. J. Long observes, “This Italian form of verse nearly to the point of perfection. In them he seldom wrote of love, the usual subject with his predecessors, but of patriotism, duty, music, and subjects of political interest suggested by the struggle into which England was drifting.”

10/11/2018

Critical Appreciation of "On his Blindness"


Critical Appreciation

On His Blindness is one of the best of the few sonnets that Milton wrote. The theme of the sonnet is Milton's concern over his blindness. He is worried that he has become blind before half of his lifetime is passed. His poetic talent has become useless, though his soul is more bent to serve his Maker (God) with that talent. He fears that if he does not serve Him, He may chide him. But whenever he ponders on such question his spirit of patience asks  if God demands service from a blind man. and it answers its own question immediately. It says that God does not need either His Own gifts, or man's service. God's state is kingly. Thousands of angels speed over land and ocean without rest at His bidding. As regards mankind, his spirit of patience says, they also serve who stand and wait.
     This sonnet is an expression of a personal problem, and its solution. For such an expression this medium he found most appropriate as a form. In his writing of sonnet he chose the Italian or Petrarchan form, though some of the English poets before him wrote in the Shakespearean or English type. But yet he did not blindly follow the Italian model. In the Italian form of sonnet there is a clear division between the octave and the sestet, with a fixed rhyme scheme for the octave, and another for the sestet. But in Milton, we find that the division between the octave and the sestet is not clear-cut. The syntax tends to overflow the division between the octave and the sester. For example, in the following lines:
       .. Doth God exact day-labour, light denied,
        I fondly ask; but patience to prevent
         That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need''
    The octave ends with the word  “prevent”, but the syntax of the sentence is not completed. The sentence flows on into the sestet. In an ltalian sonnet the octave would stop with the end of its eighth line.
         As regards the meter, he has followed the traditional iambic pentameter of the Italian sonnet form. Of course. There are a good many variations. For example,
                   And that/one tal/ ent which/ is death/ to hide
                   Lodg'd with/me use/less though/ my soul/more bent.
         I lere in the first line, we observe regular iambic pentameter, but in the second line the first foot is a trochee. In this way, there are some other variations in the meter used.
      The rhetorical devices used in this sonnet are remarkable. He has personified the moral quality_  patience, which asks him question, and answers the question immediately. The metaphor of God's state being like a king's state is very effective;   it brings before the reader's eyes a picture of how God's state is run. The poet has used some words with strong emphasis, and so they are very effective in the context of the poem. Words and phrases like “ dark world and wide”, “death to hide”, ”chide”, ”post over”, ”stand and wait” make his expression stronger than otherwise it could have been.
        The sonnet is a successful one indeed. Milton has exhibited his poetic power within a short space of this sonnet.

10/10/2018

Emily Dickinson's use of imagery in her poem “Because I could not stop for Death”.



        Imagery is one of the basic tools that poets use to suggest the intended meanings, to impart vivid pictures, to add sensuousness and to attach poetic charms. In “Because I could not stop for Death” Emily Dickinson uses imagery for the same purposes. Most of the images in this poem are clear though a few are not so distinct. The major images used in this poem are: a journey on a horse-drawn carriage, Death as a bridegroom, the speaker as a bride, Immortality as a person, school children playing in class-break, fields of ripe grains, the setting sun, the shroud as a wedding dress, the grave as a house and the heads of the horses pointing towards eternity. All these images are functional in conveying the meaning of the poem.          Readers of the poem come across the image of the carriage and its three passengers_  Death, the bride (speaker) and Immortality_ in the first stanza.  The image of the journey starts here. The carriage moved along slowly. Then, we meet the images of school children playing in class-break, fields of ripe grains and the setting sun:                   We passed the School, where Children strove                   At Recess_ in the Ring_                   We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain_                   We passed the Setting Sun_         The images in this stanza have symbolic dimension.The image of the school children symbolizes childhood, the image of “Gazing Grains” symbolizes midlife and the “Setting Sun” symbolizes  dying of the speaker. The poet makes it clear that death was present in childhood, in midlife and in old age till the end of life of the speaker. The journey continued and the speaker felt quivering chill in her gossamer-like thin gown. This image suggests that she was already dead; so the temperature of her body fell down to zero. The thin gown is both a shroud and a wedding dress. At this point of the journey the marriage between Death and the bride (speaker) was complete.         The carriage of the bridegroom now reached the bridal house. The image of the house has been described so vividly that it suggests nothing but the grave:                   We paused before a House that seemed                   A  Swelling of the Gorund_                   The Roof was scarcely visible_                    The Cornice_ in the Ground_       They passed a little time there. The journey starts again. In the last stanza we come across the image of  the horses which now moved towards eternity. In this stanza it is suggested that this journey is the journey from childhood to eternity through grave. It is also made clear that the journey was undertaken centuries ago. The poem ends with the suggestion that the journey would continue in the space of eternity.           So, the images in “Because I could not stop for Death”  are vivid and suggestive. The readers are charmed as soon as they discover the meanings of the images. Bringing them together the poet aptly conveys the desired meanings.
  Imagery is one of the basic tools that poets use to suggest the intended meanings, to impart vivid pictures, to add sensuousness and to attach poetic charms. In “Because I could not stop for Death” Emily Dickinson uses imagery for the same purposes. Most of the images in this poem are clear though a few are not so distinct. The major images used in this poem are: a journey on a horse-drawn carriage, Death as a bridegroom, the speaker as a bride, Immortality as a person, school children playing in class-break, fields of ripe grains, the setting sun, the shroud as a wedding dress, the grave as a house and the heads of the horses pointing towards eternity. All these images are functional in conveying the meaning of the poem.
        Readers of the poem come across the image of the carriage and its three passengers_  Death, the bride (speaker) and Immortality_ in the first stanza.  The image of the journey starts here. The carriage moved along slowly. Then, we meet the images of school children playing in class-break, fields of ripe grains and the setting sun:
                 We passed the School, where Children strove
                 At Recess_ in the Ring_
                 We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain_
                 We passed the Setting Sun_
       The images in this stanza have symbolic dimension.The image of the school children symbolizes childhood, the image of “Gazing Grains” symbolizes midlife and the “Setting Sun” symbolizes  dying of the speaker. The poet makes it clear that death was present in childhood, in midlife and in old age till the end of life of the speaker. The journey continued and the speaker felt quivering chill in her gossamer-like thin gown. This image suggests that she was already dead; so the temperature of her body fell down to zero. The thin gown is both a shroud and a wedding dress. At this point of the journey the marriage between Death and the bride (speaker) was complete.
       The carriage of the bridegroom now reached the bridal house. The image of the house has been described so vividly that it suggests nothing but the grave:
                 We paused before a House that seemed
                 A  Swelling of the Gorund_
                 The Roof was scarcely visible_
                  The Cornice_ in the Ground_
     They passed a little time there. The journey starts again. In the last stanza we come across the image of  the horses which now moved towards eternity. In this stanza it is suggested that this journey is the journey from childhood to eternity through grave. It is also made clear that the journey was undertaken centuries ago. The poem ends with the suggestion that the journey would continue in the space of eternity.
         So, the images in “Because I could not stop for Death”  are vivid and suggestive. The readers are charmed as soon as they discover the meanings of the images. Bringing them together the poet aptly conveys the desired meanings.

10/09/2018

Social criticism in "Elegy Written In Country churchyard"

   “Elegy  Written in a Country Churchyard”,  mainly dwells upon the life and death of the poor villagers. In order to glorify the rural poor, Thomas Gray makes a contrast, his  attitude to the vanity, pride and the rural poor. In this contrast,his attitude to the vanity,  pride and artificiality of the rich people turns out as a social criticism.  Gray’s social criticism begins from the eighth stanza. The rich, proud and ambitious people are different from the simple, unknown  villagers lying in the neglected churchyard. The vanity of pretensions of the sophisticated people has been ironically revealed, and in the process the poor ordinary people have been glorified. The  “ambition”  of the powerful people mars the  ”homely  joys” that the ordinary villagers enjoy. The  “disdainful smile”  of the ”Grandeur” is disgusting in contrast to the  “simple annals of the poor”.  Similarly, the pomp of power and wealth, and the  “pealing anthem” at the  decorated grave of the proud people turn out to be meaningless in contrast to the villagers’ simple tombs. In the same way, the dead villagers unknown to the world have been contrasted with the  “storied  urn”  or ”animated bust”.  The poet has used negative or disapproving epithets  like   “pomp of pow’r”, ”disdainful smile”,  ”pealing anthem”,  ”storied  urn”  and ”animated  bust”  for the  ambitious  rich people. But he has used approving epithets like  “homely joys”  and  ”simple annals of the poor” for the country people. His disliking for the artificiality of the boastful urban people and his sympathy for the poor villagers become transparent when he says’  “The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”    The poet’s glorification of the possibilities of the common people also demeans the achievement  of the fortunate people who have power and pomp. Perhaps these poor people had the celestial fire that Milton had; or the ability to govern an empire that Oliver  Cromwell had; or the ability to protest against tyranny that  Hampden had. But these people did not have any opportunity. The poet has also compared them with the gems of the oceans and the flowers of the desert that bloom,  flourish and wither away unknown. In all these comparisons and contrasts, the poet’s dislike for the privileged people is poignant.  It may now be concluded that Thomas Gray is very critical of the socially privileged people. The poem reflects a strong dislike for the artificial, pompous way of life. At several points of the poem, the poet touches upon universal laws of life to show the meaninglessness of power and luxury.

 “Elegy  Written in a Country Churchyard”,  mainly dwells upon the life and death of the poor villagers. In order to glorify the rural poor, Thomas Gray makes a contrast, his  attitude to the vanity, pride and the rural poor. In this contrast,his attitude to the vanity,  pride and artificiality of the rich people turns out as a social criticism.
Gray’s social criticism begins from the eighth stanza. The rich, proud and ambitious people are different from the simple, unknown  villagers lying in the neglected churchyard. The vanity of pretensions of the sophisticated people has been ironically revealed, and in the process the poor ordinary people have been glorified. The  “ambition”  of the powerful people mars the  ”homely  joys” that the ordinary villagers enjoy. The  “disdainful smile”  of the ”Grandeur” is disgusting in contrast to the  “simple annals of the poor”.  Similarly, the pomp of power and wealth, and the  “pealing anthem” at the  decorated grave of the proud people turn out to be meaningless in contrast to the villagers’ simple tombs. In the same way, the dead villagers unknown to the world have been contrasted with the  “storied  urn”  or ”animated bust”.  The poet has used negative or disapproving epithets  like   “pomp of pow’r”, ”disdainful smile”,  ”pealing anthem”,  ”storied  urn”  and ”animated  bust”  for the  ambitious  rich people. But he has used approving epithets like  “homely joys”  and  ”simple annals of the poor” for the country people. His disliking for the artificiality of the boastful urban people and his sympathy for the poor villagers become transparent when he says’  “The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

The poet’s glorification of the possibilities of the common people also demeans the achievement  of the fortunate people who have power and pomp. Perhaps these poor people had the celestial fire that Milton had; or the ability to govern an empire that Oliver  Cromwell had; or the ability to protest against tyranny that  Hampden had. But these people did not have any opportunity. The poet has also compared them with the gems of the oceans and the flowers of the desert that bloom,  flourish and wither away unknown. In all these comparisons and contrasts, the poet’s dislike for the privileged people is poignant.
It may now be concluded that Thomas Gray is very critical of the socially privileged people. The poem reflects a strong dislike for the artificial, pompous way of life. At several points of the poem, the poet touches upon universal laws of life to show the meaninglessness of power and luxury.

10/07/2018

How does Gray glorify the simplicity of country life?

    Conventionally, an elegy mourns the death of a very  close friend. But in  “Elegy Written in a Country  Churchyard”, instead of a single friend,  Thomas Gray mourns for all the dead villagers of stoke pages as well as for the decline of simple life. To mourn the deaths of the villagers, he compares and contrasts them with the  urban rich. In the process the simplicity of the country life has been glorified.  A sad tone to mourn the deaths of the villagers lying in their graves is set in the first few stanzas. Then, the simple, unknown villagers lying in the neglected churchyard have been contrasted with the rich, proud and ambitious people. The vanity of the sophisticated people has been ironically revealed, and in the process, the simple life of the poor ordinary people has been glorified. The “ambition” of the powerful people has been contrasted with the “homely joys” of the ordinary villagers. The “disdainful smile” of the rich has been contrasted with the “simple annals of the poor”. Similarly, the pomp of power and wealth, and the “pealing anthem” at the decorated grave of the proud people are in  contrast with the simple tombs of the villagers. The poet has used negative or disapproving epithets like “pomp of pow’r”, “disdainful smile”,  ”pealing anthem”, ”storied urn” and ”aninated bust” for the ambitious rich people . But he has used approving epithets like  “homely  joys” and ”simple annals of the poor” for the country people. His disliking for the artificiality of the boastful urban people and his sympathy for the  poor villagers become transparent when he says,  “The paths of glory lead but to the grave”.  The poet, further,  glorifies the  “rude forefathers”  by referring to the possibilities that these common people had. Given chances, perhaps some of these poor people could have been a Milton or an Oliver Cromwell or a Hampden. But these people did not have any opportunity. The poet has also compared them with the gems of the oceans and the flowers of the desert that wither away unknown. These people never killed others to grab power. They had never been ashamed of committing crimes. They were not ambitious and so they could happily fulfil their humble wishes.  Thus, the poet has glorified the dead humble villagers in  particular and the simplicity of the common life in general. His treatment of the villagers has a touch of deep pathos.

  Conventionally, an elegy mourns the death of a very  close friend. But in  “Elegy Written in a Country  Churchyard”, instead of a single friend,  Thomas Gray mourns for all the dead villagers of stoke pages as well as for the decline of simple life. To mourn the deaths of the villagers, he compares and contrasts them with the  urban rich. In the process the simplicity of the country life has been glorified.
A sad tone to mourn the deaths of the villagers lying in their graves is set in the first few stanzas. Then, the simple, unknown villagers lying in the neglected churchyard have been contrasted with the rich, proud and ambitious people. The vanity of the sophisticated people has been ironically revealed, and in the process, the simple life of the poor ordinary people has been glorified. The “ambition” of the powerful people has been contrasted with the “homely joys” of the ordinary villagers. The “disdainful smile” of the rich has been contrasted with the “simple annals of the poor”. Similarly, the pomp of power and wealth, and the “pealing anthem” at the decorated grave of the proud people are in  contrast with the simple tombs of the villagers. The poet has used negative or disapproving epithets like “pomp of pow’r”, “disdainful smile”,  ”pealing anthem”, ”storied urn” and ”aninated bust” for the ambitious rich people . But he has used approving epithets like  “homely  joys” and ”simple annals of the poor” for the country people. His disliking for the artificiality of the boastful urban people and his sympathy for the  poor villagers become transparent when he says,  “The paths of glory lead but to the grave”.
The poet, further,  glorifies the  “rude forefathers”  by referring to the possibilities that these common people had. Given chances, perhaps some of these poor people could have been a Milton or an Oliver Cromwell or a Hampden. But these people did not have any opportunity. The poet has also compared them with the gems of the oceans and the flowers of the desert that wither away unknown. These people never killed others to grab power. They had never been ashamed of committing crimes. They were not ambitious and so they could happily fulfil their humble wishes.
Thus, the poet has glorified the dead humble villagers in  particular and the simplicity of the common life in general. His treatment of the villagers has a touch of deep pathos.

10/05/2018

The diction and imagery of “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard ”.

   Thomas Gray was the poet of a time when a transition from Neo-classical ideals to that of romanticism  was taking place. Naturally, the trends of classicism and romanticism run in his poems. Within the classical framework the diction and the imagery he uses here are functional. His selection of words and choice of imagery successfully create the desired elegiac mood  and convey the intended meaning.  Gray uses a grand style in this  “Elegy”. Though there are monosyllabic or disyllabic words, there are also  tri-syllabic and multi-syllabic words arranged in such a way that they impart a flair of grandiose to the diction, for example,  “glimmering”  ”Ambition”,  ”heraldry”,  ”celestial”,  ”Forgetfulness”  and the like. Moreover, he piles up epithets in Greek manner. For example,  “parting day”,  ”lowly bed”,  ”blazing hearth”,  ”fretted vault”,  ”fleeting breath”,  ”ignoble strife”  are all original and startling expressions made by epithets plus nouns. He has also made use of personifications in  classical manner. For instance,  “Ambition”,  ”Grandeur”,  ”Memory”,  ”Death”,  ”Knowledge”,  ”Pride”,  ”Melancholy”,  ”Misery” and so on, are personifications in the style of the Augustan poets. These epithets and personifications do not harm the elegance of the poem. They rather add poetic charm to the poem.  The imagery of the poem is vivid and highly suggestive. For example,in the setting of the melancholic mood,the atmosphere of the evening has been evoked by a number of word pictures. They are: the herd walking down following a winding path over the grass land, the villagers returning home after day-long hard labour with tired steps, the fading light of the sun, the sounds of the beetle, owls and bell. All these images are clear and vivid and contribute to the melancholic mood of the poem. Similarly, the images of the unknown gems and flowers are highly suggestive. The images of the churchyard beneath the old elms and the image of the poet lying under a tree near a brook at noon are really vivid and suggestive. All these images, rich in associative meaning, create a suitable atmosphere for mourning and heighten the poetic effect.  So, the diction and imagery chosen for the poem are functional rather than decorative. They are well-matched with the melancholic mood of the elegy. They create a proper atmosphere and convey the sublime  feelings of the speaker.  The poem has both classical and romantic elements in it. The grave tone, the didacticism, the heroic verse lines and the formal diction are classical elements. On the other hand, choice of nature as setting, selection of common people as characters, melancholic note, criticism of social vanities and nostalgic note are romantic elements. The poem is mainly objective but there are a few subjective touches. It is a unique creation rich in varieties. It is traditional yet innovative.


Thomas Gray was the poet of a time when a transition from Neo-classical ideals to that of romanticism  was taking place. Naturally, the trends of classicism and romanticism run in his poems. Within the classical framework the diction and the imagery he uses here are functional. His selection of words and choice of imagery successfully create the desired elegiac mood  and convey the intended meaning.
Gray uses a grand style in this  “Elegy”. Though there are monosyllabic or disyllabic words, there are also  tri-syllabic and multi-syllabic words arranged in such a way that they impart a flair of grandiose to the diction, for example,  “glimmering”  ”Ambition”,  ”heraldry”,  ”celestial”,  ”Forgetfulness”  and the like. Moreover, he piles up epithets in Greek manner. For example,  “parting day”,  ”lowly bed”,  ”blazing hearth”,  ”fretted vault”,  ”fleeting breath”,  ”ignoble strife”  are all original and startling expressions made by epithets plus nouns. He has also made use of personifications in  classical manner. For instance,  “Ambition”,  ”Grandeur”,  ”Memory”,  ”Death”,  ”Knowledge”,  ”Pride”,  ”Melancholy”,  ”Misery” and so on, are personifications in the style of the Augustan poets. These epithets and personifications do not harm the elegance of the poem. They rather add poetic charm to the poem.
The imagery of the poem is vivid and highly suggestive. For example,in the setting of the melancholic mood,the atmosphere of the evening has been evoked by a number of word pictures. They are: the herd walking down following a winding path over the grass land, the villagers returning home after day-long hard labour with tired steps, the fading light of the sun, the sounds of the beetle, owls and bell. All these images are clear and vivid and contribute to the melancholic mood of the poem. Similarly, the images of the unknown gems and flowers are highly suggestive. The images of the churchyard beneath the old elms and the image of the poet lying under a tree near a brook at noon are really vivid and suggestive. All these images, rich in associative meaning, create a suitable atmosphere for mourning and heighten the poetic effect.
So, the diction and imagery chosen for the poem are functional rather than decorative. They are well-matched with the melancholic mood of the elegy. They create a proper atmosphere and convey the sublime  feelings of the speaker.
The poem has both classical and romantic elements in it. The grave tone, the didacticism, the heroic verse lines and the formal diction are classical elements. On the other hand, choice of nature as setting, selection of common people as characters, melancholic note, criticism of social vanities and nostalgic note are romantic elements. The poem is mainly objective but there are a few subjective touches. It is a unique creation rich in varieties. It is traditional yet innovative.

10/03/2018

"Elegy Written In country Churchyard" as an elegy.


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According to  H. M. Abrams the elegy is  “A formal and sustained lament in verse for the death of a particular person,  usually ending in a consolation.”  It is a kind of lyric, meditative in nature. It begins with a description of gloomy atmosphere that sets the mood of mourning.  “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” is a  famous elegy that deals with the mortality of human beings in General and the  decay of a cherished way of life in particular. It has a pastoral setting, melancholic enough to sustain the grief of the mourner. However, instead of the death of a particular person, it mourns the death of the poor villagers and their simple way of life. It ends traditionally with consolation like any other elegy. In every consideration it is a unique elegy in English.
An elegy begins with the description of nature reflecting a gloomy atmosphere that matches well with the sorrowful mood of the mourners. Similarly,  “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” sets the elegiac mood in the first three stanzas in keeping  with the convention of the elegy. The parting day,   “lowing  herd”,   weary ploughman,   ”glimmering  landscape”,  droning of  beetles,  hooting of the owl, are all used to create an atmosphere  that adequately reflects the desired sorrowful mood suitable for the mourner.
Then, following the tradition, the mourner reveals that he is sorrowful because of the dead villagers buried in the country churchyard. This revelation is followed by a description of the simple pastoral life of the poor villagers. The humble life style of the villagers praised between the fourth and seventh stanzas demands sympathy and respect.
Next, the mourner speaker  accuses the ambitious rich people neglecting these poor villagers and censured their pompous way life. This expression of dissatisfaction at the present way of life another convention of the elegy. After this criticism of the rich, Gray refers to the universal law of death and the ultimate desire of every human heart.
But Gray digresses from the tradition in that he passes on from the villagers to his own fate. He anticipates his own death and hopes that a shepherd will be his mourner. Thus, he merges the universal with the particular. However, he follows the elegiac tradition in closing the poem with consolation. He consoles himself expecting  God’s  forgiveness after his death.
“Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”  is, therefore, an exceptional elegy. It follows the tradition of the pastoral elegy in creating a congenial setting, appreciating the life of the dead, censoring the decay of traditional values, and ending the poem with consolation. But Gray deviates from the tradition in allowing the mourner to lament for all the dead villagers instead of a particular person, in anticipating his own death and his own mourner.

10/02/2018

Critical Appreciation of "I Wandered lonely as a Cloud"

The poem  “I  Wandered  Lonely as a Cloud”,   written in 1804, is a beautiful specimen of romantic poetry. It  is a good example of Wordsworth’s belief in the communion between nature and man and in nature’s healing power. It also reflects his concept of the romantic  imagination and  his belief in  “the spontaneous overflow  of powerful feelings  .   .   .  recollected in tranwuillity”   which he professed as the theory of poetry.


 The poem  “I  Wandered  Lonely as a Cloud”,   written in 1804, is a beautiful specimen of romantic poetry. It  is a good example of Wordsworth’s belief in the communion between nature and man and in nature’s healing power. It also reflects his concept of the romantic  imagination and  his belief in  “the spontaneous overflow  of powerful feelings  .   .   .  recollected in tranwuillity”   which he professed as the theory of poetry.
The  I-speaker or the first person speaker of the poem saw a huge number of daffodils while he was roaming about without any definite purpose.  The daffodils appeared to him as a crowd of living beings. Like a group of joyous dancers, they had been dancing in pleasant breeze. They were making sounds like the sounds made by the wings of the flying birds. They seemed to laugh together in mirth and joy. The speaker who had been walking with empty mind in a passive mood could not but respond to the happy sight.  He was moved by the happiness of the daffodils.  They touched his heart and made a permanent impression of happiness there. The overwhelmed speaker kept on looking at these flowers for a long time. Later on, whenever he becomes lonely and nostalgic that happy sight revives in his mind. His heart starts dancing like those  dancing daffodils. It provides him with solace and comfort. It revives his  “genial spirit.”
The poem consists of four regular stanzas of six lines. Each of the stanzas rhymes as   ababcc.  The couplet at the end of each stanza enhances spontaneity. The tetrameter verse lines also ensure the smooth and spontaneous movement. The spontaneity achieved by the careful use of rhyme scheme and verse form is well matched with the jovial atmosphere. The atmosphere has been made more happy and joyous by selecting suitable objects, colours and mood. The daffodils are of  “golden” colour and they shine and sparkle. They flutter, dance and toss in the pleasant wind. They are “gay”, “jocund” and gleeful. The first fourteen lines have been used to describe the daffodils and create their ecstatic mood. The last eight lines have been used to describe the influence of that happy sight on the mind of the speaker.
The poet also uses several figures of speech to create the suitable atmosphere and mood required for establishing a communion between the speaker and the daffodils symbolizing nature. The   I-speaker has been compared to a piece of hovering cloud suggesting passive mood and empty mind.  Similarly,   “a  crowd”  is a personification in which the qualities of a crowd have been transferred to the flowers  indicating their huge number and their lively nature. The words   “dancing”  and  ”dance”  are also used to imply the jovial and living nature of the  daffodils. The word  “company”  has been used very significantly,  In the same way to transfer life of human beings to the daffodils. Another simile,  “as the stars”,  has been used to imply both brightness and huge number of the daffodils. Thus,  The figures of speech have been very carefully used to suggest that the  daffodils are large  in number, they are living creatures, they are happy and capable of giving company to man. As a result, a communion between the speaker and the daffodils is possible. Though the poem springs from the personal experience of the poet, it presents an objective truth about  nature’s  influence on man.
The words, the figures,  the metres, and the rhyme scheme together constitute a joyous tone, befitting to the happy communion. The poem is indeed a good example of romantic poetry.

9/30/2018

Character of Lady Macbeth


   Introduction:  It will be unfair on the part of a reader to judge the character of Lady Macbeth merely by her outward appearance. A close scrutiny of her character will indeed establish her as one of the most sublime tragic heroines of Shakespeare simply by virtue of her grandeur and strength. Much of her behavior in the play seems to be pretended and meant to bolster the dropping spirit of her husband. She acts as a guiding force to her weak husband and helps in giving intensity and completeness to the tragedy. In reality she is not just a cruel monster but is human and endowed with the natural tenderness of woman – a quality she simply suppresses in order to be a foul and treacherous murder.    Love for and administration for her husband:  When Lady Macbeth makes her first appearance in the play She is seen reading a letter from her husband I which he tells her, his “dearest partner of greatness”, of his success in battle, the prediction of the Witches and their partial fulfillment. In her comments on the letter she expresses her admiration for his greatness, and wishes for him all that he wishes for himself. But her interest in him and his career is totally unselfish. She makes these wicked plans , not for her own benefit, but for her husband’s advancement. Aware of her husband’s weakness, she is determined to further the schemes by using the whole force of her superior will rlto lead him into prompt Action:  “Hie thee hither,  That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,  And chastise with the valour of my tongue  All that impedes thee from the golden round,  To have thee crown'd withal”.    She is even prepared to sacrifice her femininity and her humanity to give “solely sovereign way and Masterdom” to her husband. Again we find her concern for Macbeth in Act III, Sc. II , when she tries to cheer up her husband and rid him of his “sorriest fancies” and tendency to keep alone.    Strength of will:  Lady Macbeth possesses “a frightful determined will” , an iron stability of resolve which is to her what imagination is to Macbeth. This feature transcends and dominates all others in her character. With the strength of this will she Influences her husband and guides his action, remedies his errors and helps him out of critical situations. Her determined will finds expression during her very first appearance in the play, in her immediate response to her husband’s letter:  “Glamis thou art, and Credit, and shalt be  What thou art promised”  But she is aware of her and her husband 's weakness. The singleness of purpose makes her determined to repress her femininity and encourage Macbeth into necessary action. Many other times of the play we find evidence of her strength of will.    Self-control and resourcefulness:  Lady Macbeth is capable of tremendous self control and practically when it comes to meeting crises. She checks all feminine sentiments when she sets about the business of preparing for Duncan’s murder. He advise to her husband is sound and practical:  “To beguile the time,  Look like the time ; bear welcome in your eyes,  Your han, your tongue; look like the innocent flower,  But be the serpent under it”  She displays the same wisdom when Macbeth, after murdering Duncan, returns to her, forgetting his excitement, to leave the dagger at the spot of the crime. She immediately perceives that the dagger and the blood on Macbeth’s hands are incriminately . So she ask him to wash the blood – “this filthy witness” – of his hands and carry the dagger back to Duncan’s chamber. She can also see the change of shifting the responsibility of the murder by screaming the faces of the grooms and blood. She then tries to jar Macbeth out of his emotional shock resulting from the crime, and when the sudden knocking at the gate is heard , she doesn’t loss her cool but can see the pressing need for quick positive action. She tell him:  “Get on your night-gown, lest occasion calls us,  And show us to be watchers – Be not lost  So poorly in your thoughts………..”  In many others time we get her this quality all through the drama.    Conscience not overwhelmed:  Despite her apparent cruelty, Lady Macbeth is certainly not without traces of conscience. She employs her strength of determination to keep  her conscience suppressed because without doing so she can never reach her goal. In Act III, scene II, her first private thought since since Duncan’s murder gives a momentary expression to her feelings of remorse at the heinous deed:  “Nought’s had, all's spent,  Where our desire is got without content   Tis safer to be that which we destroy  Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy…..”  However hard she tries to repress her conscience, gradually but surely it leads her to mental disorder. She continues this all through the play.    Uniqueness of characterization:  Lady Macbeth is undoubtedly the most fascinating character of Shakespeare. In spite of all her crimes and machinations the readers cannot help pitying her ultimate sufferings and premature death. To quote A.W. Verity again; “Lady Macbeth and Hamlet stands apart from the rest of Shakespeare’s creations in the intensity and perplexity of the interest they arouse. Of all the women Shakespeare has drawn, none exercise so strange a fascination (not event serpent of old Nile' ) as this fragile, indomitable northern Queen , who makes the great denial – denial her sex and greatly suffers , even to the death.”

Introduction:
It will be unfair on the part of a reader to judge the character of Lady Macbeth merely by her outward appearance. A close scrutiny of her character will indeed establish her as one of the most sublime tragic heroines of Shakespeare simply by virtue of her grandeur and strength. Much of her behavior in the play seems to be pretended and meant to bolster the dropping spirit of her husband. She acts as a guiding force to her weak husband and helps in giving intensity and completeness to the tragedy. In reality she is not just a cruel monster but is human and endowed with the natural tenderness of woman – a quality she simply suppresses in order to be a foul and treacherous murder.

Love for and administration for her husband:
When Lady Macbeth makes her first appearance in the play She is seen reading a letter from her husband I which he tells her, his “dearest partner of greatness”, of his success in battle, the prediction of the Witches and their partial fulfillment. In her comments on the letter she expresses her admiration for his greatness, and wishes for him all that he wishes for himself. But her interest in him and his career is totally unselfish. She makes these wicked plans , not for her own benefit, but for her husband’s advancement. Aware of her husband’s weakness, she is determined to further the schemes by using the whole force of her superior will rlto lead him into prompt Action:
“Hie thee hither,
That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,
And chastise with the valour of my tongue
All that impedes thee from the golden round,
To have thee crown'd withal”.

She is even prepared to sacrifice her femininity and her humanity to give “solely sovereign way and Masterdom” to her husband. Again we find her concern for Macbeth in Act III, Sc. II , when she tries to cheer up her husband and rid him of his “sorriest fancies” and tendency to keep alone.

Strength of will:
Lady Macbeth possesses “a frightful determined will” , an iron stability of resolve which is to her what imagination is to Macbeth. This feature transcends and dominates all others in her character. With the strength of this will she Influences her husband and guides his action, remedies his errors and helps him out of critical situations. Her determined will finds expression during her very first appearance in the play, in her immediate response to her husband’s letter:
“Glamis thou art, and Credit, and shalt be
What thou art promised”
But she is aware of her and her husband 's weakness. The singleness of purpose makes her determined to repress her femininity and encourage Macbeth into necessary action. Many other times of the play we find evidence of her strength of will.

Self-control and resourcefulness:
Lady Macbeth is capable of tremendous self control and practically when it comes to meeting crises. She checks all feminine sentiments when she sets about the business of preparing for Duncan’s murder. He advise to her husband is sound and practical:
“To beguile the time,
Look like the time ; bear welcome in your eyes,
Your han, your tongue; look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under it”
She displays the same wisdom when Macbeth, after murdering Duncan, returns to her, forgetting his excitement, to leave the dagger at the spot of the crime. She immediately perceives that the dagger and the blood on Macbeth’s hands are incriminately . So she ask him to wash the blood – “this filthy witness” – of his hands and carry the dagger back to Duncan’s chamber. She can also see the change of shifting the responsibility of the murder by screaming the faces of the grooms and blood. She then tries to jar Macbeth out of his emotional shock resulting from the crime, and when the sudden knocking at the gate is heard , she doesn’t loss her cool but can see the pressing need for quick positive action. She tell him:
“Get on your night-gown, lest occasion calls us,
And show us to be watchers – Be not lost
So poorly in your thoughts………..”
In many others time we get her this quality all through the drama.

Conscience not overwhelmed:
Despite her apparent cruelty, Lady Macbeth is certainly not without traces of conscience. She employs her strength of determination to keep  her conscience suppressed because without doing so she can never reach her goal. In Act III, scene II, her first private thought since since Duncan’s murder gives a momentary expression to her feelings of remorse at the heinous deed:
“Nought’s had, all's spent,
Where our desire is got without content
Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy…..”
However hard she tries to repress her conscience, gradually but surely it leads her to mental disorder. She continues this all through the play.

Uniqueness of characterization:
Lady Macbeth is undoubtedly the most fascinating character of Shakespeare. In spite of all her crimes and machinations the readers cannot help pitying her ultimate sufferings and premature death. To quote A.W. Verity again; “Lady Macbeth and Hamlet stands apart from the rest of Shakespeare’s creations in the intensity and perplexity of the interest they arouse. Of all the women Shakespeare has drawn, none exercise so strange a fascination (not event serpent of old Nile' ) as this fragile, indomitable northern Queen , who makes the great denial – denial her sex and greatly suffers , even to the death.”

Wordsworth’s poetic theory in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

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Poetry is the  “spontaneous  overflow of powerful feelings .  .  .  recollected  in  tranquillity”,  says  Wordsworth. In reaction to the prevailing tradition of  Neo-classical poetry he professed spontaneity and preferred it to artificial poetic rules. He loved nature and believed in nature’s healing power. His beliefs and practice later on came to be known as romanticism.  “I  Wandered  Lonely  as  a  Cloud”  reflects the main features of his poetic theory.
In  “I  Wandered  Lonely  as  a  Cloud”,  spontaneity has been achieved by the rhymes and verse form.  Each stanza consists of six verse lines rhyming  ababcc. The couplet at the end of each stanza enhances spontaneity. So, the rhyme scheme and the tetrameter verse lines ensure the smooth movement required for the creation of spontaneity.  In addition to this, the speaker’s past experience of the daffodils has been recollected in the creation of the poem, which is also a feature of Wordswoth’s theory.
Wordsworth used the daffodils as a symbol of nature.  The  speaker, while roaming about aimlessly two years ago, saw a large number of daffodils. The flowers offered a happy sight. There was a pleasant wind. It seemed that the golden daffodils were dancing in joy. The speaker, who had a heart of a poet, was influenced by the joy of the daffodils. His heart started sharing the joyous movement of the flowers. He kept on looking at the beauty of the lively daffodils for a long time, not only to feed his eyes but also to feed his heart that responded positively. We understand that his heart started dancing with the   “sprightly dance” of the daffodils. This active participation in the joy of nature bears a deeper significance. It shows a spiritual communion between the speaker and the daffodils. This recognition of the spiritual correspondence between a man and nature establishes the fact that the speaker is in love with nature. This treatment of nature is an important feature of romanticism.
The poem shows the healing influence of nature. Belief in nature’s healing power is another aspect of  Wordsworth’s poetic creed. In this poem The speaker experienced a happy sight of the daffodils two years ago. Now, whenever, he becomes gloomy, the happy sight returns to his mind. His heart starts dancing. It relieves him of his pensive mood. It is another trait of romanticism.
So, spontaneity,love of nature, belief in nature’s healing power are the main features of Wordsworth’s poetic doctrine found in this poem.