Critical Analysis of Sous Les Arbres

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Sous Les Arbres is the 17th poem in the second half of the book “L’ Âme en Fleur”. “L’ Âme en Fleur” is the second book of Victor Hugo’s “Les Contemplations”. Sous Les Abres is the title of the 17th poem while the poems which come directly before it and after aren’t titled. The poem is 24 lines long, consisting of 6 stanzas written in 4 line quatrains. It is written in alexandrines arranged in “rime croisées” throughout the 6 quatrains, with an ABAB style of rhyme. Hugo’s use of the Caesura defies the common practice of breaking the Alexandrine line into two units of six syllables called a hemistich, instead using the caesura at a much greater frequency throughout the poem to create the effects of imbalance and asymmetry while allowing greater expression and emphasis. The opening quatrain establishes the location of the poem. The poem takes place in a forest, where a man and women deeply in love are walking through admiring the nature and world around them. The season the poem is set in is summer, a particularly romantic and suitable setting for the poem due to it’s warmth and the beauty of nature as the surrounding world is in full bloom. The opening quatrain sets the main themes of the poem which are love and nature. Like many of Hugo’s poems, the opening stanzas set the theme and location of the poem while he develops the actions of the poem from third stanza onwards. The third stanza further emphasises the theme of nature in the beginning of the stanza while the final lines brings the poem back to the theme of love. In the fourth stanza, she tells him of her love for him. The fifth stanza combines the themes of love and nature into one. During the sixth stanza as night falls she establishes her full loyalty to him through her love using the metaphor of a dog.

The poem opens with a one sentence stanza (lines 1-4) written in an alexandrine with the caesura having an irregular form. The caesurae appear seven times throughout the stanza instead of the regular...
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