An Explication of “Spellbound” by Emily Brontë

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Nancy Tuff

Composition 2 – LM1

May 3, 2013

An Explication of “Spellbound” by Emily Brontë

Have you ever found yourself knowing that you were in a predicament but had been incapable of finding the strength to leave it behind? The poem “Spellbound” by Emily Brontë relates to the idea of being unable to force oneself from a damaging situation. This can be seen through a careful examination of the poem’s title and its three stanzas. The title of Emily Brontë’s poem says volumes about the meaning. To grasp the full meaning of the title, one must break the word up into three parts: spell, bound, and spellbound. When thinking of a spell, one may think of something positive or something negative. Based on Dictionary.com, two definitions of a spell are “a state or period of enchantment,” and “any dominating or irresistible influence.” One can argue that both definitions have a positive and negative side. The word bound is said by the same dictionary to mean to “keep within limits or confines,” to be “under legal or moral obligation,” and to be “destined; sure; certain.” As can clearly be seen, the multiple definitions of the word bound can have different connotations. The word spellbound, again from the same dictionary, is defined as “bound by or as if by a spell,” and “having one’s attention held as though one is bound by a spell.” These divergent definitions also show the complexity of the title’s meaning. Based on the dictionary definitions of the three important words within the word spellbound, one may come to a few conclusions about the meaning of the title. Looking at the title positively, one could say that the title indicates that the poem is about someone being enchanted by something. Oppositely, one could say that the title JT 2

indicates that the meaning of the poem is about someone being forcefully bound to something. Through an examination of the poem’s stanzas, one can see that the second...
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