How Does Auden Explore the Narrative of Fear in 'O What Is That Sound'?

Topics: Anxiety, Fear / Pages: 4 (886 words) / Published: Mar 16th, 2013
How does Auden explore the narrative of fear in ‘O what is that sound’

In his poem ‘O what is that sound’ Auden explores the narrative of fear using language devices. The poem is in the form of a ballad where two people have a dialogue and are speaking about the current situation in which they are in. The first speaker shows aspects of fear as they’re constantly questioning what is happening, in contrast, the second speaker is restful and answers the questions swiftly as there are no pauses and coolly indicating he is not as weary as the first speaker, maybe because he knows more about the situation of the soldiers heading their way than he is letting on. Firstly, Auden reveals that the first speaker is fearful, when they show signs of panic, which can be noted from the ongoing repetition of questioning ‘why’, on the other hand, the second speaker who is calm and uses an almost patronising tone which is displayed with ‘dear’ from the second speaker who states “I promised to love you, dear” this seems almost sarcastic as the comma before ‘dear’ indicates sarcasm, like they don’t really mean it in a loving way as the second speaker says it at the end when about to leave. In addition, the second speaker, by the end of the poem it is clear that they do leave but they also could’ve betrayed the alarmed first speaker as the advancement of the “scarlet soldiers” frighten the speaker away propping him to leave what seems to be a lover. In Auden’s ballad, the dialogue of the- two supposed lovers are having a conversation, the first speaker seems more likely to be a woman as she is asking a lot of questions and seems more fearful of what is going to happen, whereas the second speaker appears to be a man as he seems to have more authority of what is going on reassuring the woman of what is happening, however, the man could be involved with the soldiers arrival- which could lead to the rape of his wife as they had made ‘vows’ so the two speakers may have been

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