Strange Fits of Passion: Wordsworth's Emotions

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  • Topic: Emotion, Poetry, She dwelt among the untrodden ways
  • Pages : 2 (572 words )
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  • Published : January 30, 2011
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Emotion is a central theme in ‘Strange fits of passion’; even in the title we have “Passion”, shown in the Poet’s feelings for Lucy and in the sudden (seemingly unfounded) idea that “Lucy should be dead” Overseeing the whole scene we also have the moon, used by Wordsworth to counterpoint the Poet’s Journey to “Lucy’s cot”. As he draws closer to the cottage the moon descends until suddenly “the planet dropped” which in turn causes the Poet to have a startling thought exclaiming “O mercy!” “If Lucy should be dead!” moving the Poet from a dazed half-sleep to startled alertness, as the feeling of dread overwhelms him. Given the rather jaunty ballad rhyming structure and rather tongue-in-cheek opening stanza, we could assume that the Poet is indulging in slight self-mockery at this notion, seen as ridiculous in hindsight. Or given some of the other imagery used, such as the moon’s slow decline—which given its romantic connotations could symbolize the decline and end of the Poet’s relationship with Lucy—and the analogy to a “rose in June”, we could assume that the Poet is reflecting on this incident with sadness regarding his memories of Lucy. This idea is further supported by the themes of the other “Lucy Poems”, namely loss. Poems such as “Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower” and "She dwelt among the untrodden ways" showcase the Joy of the Poet in Lucy’s company and feelings of great sorrow at her demise. While it is unlikely that the women featured in the “Lucy Poems” are one and the same, it makes no difference to the common feelings expressed throughout the poems. As stated above, the poem is written in the style of a ballad (as indeed all the “Lucy Poems” are, though none as obviously as “Strange fits of passion”), using the Common language of the people, as Wordsworth was often wont to do. This enables the reader to have an immediate reaction to the work, generally one of amusement at the “fond and wayward thoughts” of the Poet which is then gradually turned...
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