Differences Which Separate Pope from Wordsworth

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Key Differences Which Separate Pope from Wordsworth

In comparing excerpts from Pope's "An Essay on Man" and Wordsworth's "Prospectus", I found many similarities and some key differences. Pope's lean toward the more structured and confined, and Wordsworth's lean towards the informal and original. These differences are what separate the styles of both poets and make Pope "regular" or formal and Wordsworth "irregular" or unique.

Both poems are done in iambic pentameter; however, Pope's is rhymed whereas Wordsworth's is blank verse. Pope appeared to use an abundance of end-stops, and lacked the personalization that Wordsworth chose by including himself as "I".

Pope's usage of 70% caesura and minimal euphemisms indicate that this poem was driven mainly by form. Wordsworth, on the other hand, applied 77% caesura as in the following lines: "Or elevates the Mind, intent to weigh./ Inviolate retirement, subject there./ Of Mighty Poets; upon me bestow" (1;8,20) (2;87). Wordsworth also pulls me into the content of the poem by using euphemisms in "Of that intelligence which govers all/ The transitory Being that beheld" (1;22) (2;97) and personification with "Or from the Soul—an impulse to herself" (1;12).

Wordsworth incorporates other strategies for content by including many lines of enjambment. Pope includes parallelism in "What can we reason, but from what we know?/ From which to reason, or to which refer?" (1;18,20) for a nice balance.

Although both seemed to contain a semi-formal diction, Pope's "An Essay on Man" leaned a bit towards the formal. He offered a more structured style and confined form with the constant usage of endstops and the lack of personalization, while Wordsworth chose to accentuate by enjambment, euphemisms, and the constant usage of "I" which promotes uniqueness and originality.
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