The Highwayman

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The Highwayman Analysis
Through literary devices such as imagery and figurative language, Alfred Noyes displays that the theme of the poem, “The Highwayman”, is love. In the poem, “The Highwayman”, by Alfred Noyes, a highwayman is in love with the landlord’s daughter named Bess. A jealous old ostler named Tim reported their love to King George and Bess’ and the highwayman’s relationship took a dramatic turn which demonstrated just how much they love each other. Love is conveyed through imagery of the characters and the setting. The highwayman is described with “a French cocked hat on his forehead, and a bunch of lace at his chin; he’d a coat of the claret velvet, and breeches” (Lines 7-8), which shows that he is a nicely dressed man with good looks and money. Bess is also described with beauty such as “black-eyes” (Line 16) and “plaiting a dark red love-knot into her black hair” (Line 18). Noyes shows their compatibility through their looks because they are similar in their attractiveness. Noyes also demonstrates their love when the highwayman asks for “one kiss, my bonny sweetheart” (line 25) and when “his face burnt like a brand as the sweet black waves of perfume came tumbling o’er his breast” (lines 32-33). The perfume adds to the physical attraction between the highwayman and Bess because it is a sensual symbol. But in contrast to Bess and the highwayman’s looks, Tim, the ostler, he has a face that is “white and peaked—his eyes are hallows of madness, his hair like moldy hay” (lines 20-21). He isn’t put together or attractive at all. Tim is jealous of the love that the highwayman and Bess share. The imagery of the setting creates suspense and also a romantic environment. The poem starts by illustrating the setting with “the wind a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees, the moon a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, the road a ribbon of moonlight looping the purple moor” (lines 1-3). It’s dark and obviously taking place during nighttime. The...
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