Peacock and Nightingale by Robert Finch: Poem Analysis

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“Peacock and Nightingale”
Jennifer Robinson
ENG 125 – Introduction to Literature
Instructor: Alessandra Cusimano
July 8, 2013

“Peacock and Nightingale”
“Isn’t ironic” a phrase that we are so accustomed to hearing. It is ironic how the sun shines but it is pouring down rain. This same type of irony is found in Robert Finch’s poem “Peacock and Nightingale”. Clugston writes, “Irony is created when a discrepancy or contradiction occurs between what is expected to happen and what actually happens in a situation or in an expressed statement” (2010). What makes the irony in this poem stand out in a good way is the message that is being presented to the readers. Some the most interesting elements of this poem are the rhyme, language, and the theme which all work together to show the irony of the poem. A key element of this poem is the rhyme. It gives the poem a dynamic that hooks the reader and also gives a vivid visual. Reading this poem, I could imagine this situation unfolding before my eyes. Finch uses rhyme and flow to move the poem along which keeps us as readers interested in the poem. It also allows the poem to paint the picture of how the peacock views its self. The rhyme in the opening line sets the tone and shows the authors rhyming pattern, “Look at the eyes from my tail! What other eyes could look so well? A peacock asks a nightingale” (as cited in Clugston, 2010, section 10.5). Not only is the rhyme scheme an intricate part of this poem but the language used by the author is another. Finch's word choices help take this poem to another level. He writes, “Who would not fall in ecstasy Before the gemmed enamelry Of ruby-topaz-sapphire me?” (as cited in Clugston, 2010, section 10.5). It is very rare to find writers in the modern day that can convey a message in this same manner. People no longer speak this way, the days of to “thine own self be true” (Shakespeare, 1600) are gone and words are now acronyms and abbreviations that...
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