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Wordsworth-Shelly Comparative

Oct 08, 1999 775 Words
Compareing Shelley’s conception of nature with that of Wordsworth as expressed in the two poems “Ode to the West Wind” and “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey.” Paying special attention to the three ‘T’s: tone, technique, and theme.

The two chosen pieces both have a dominant theme of nature. Shelley, in his poem “Ode to the West Wind,” uses poignant tone, while using personification and imagery to unravel his theme of nature. While Wordsworth’s “...Tintern Abbey” contains a governing theme of nature, Wordsworth uses first person narration, illusive imagery, as well as an amiable tone to avow his connection to nature.

In his poem, “Ode to the West Wind,” Shelley uses a poignant and heart-rending tone to describe the power of nature and more specifically the wind. Shelley’s reference to the wind, as the “sister of Spring” and a “Maenad,” shows how the wind is like a woman, spontaneous and free, with the liberty to be a gentle soul or a vicious amazon. He sees the wind with wonderment, and at the same time respects it and or even fears it. Shelly not only uses tone to depict his conception of nature, but he goes on to use personification to characterize the strength and vigor the wind possesses. He gives the wind human characteristics by referring to the wind as “her” and “she.” For example, “Her clarion over the dreaming earth, and fill (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) With loving hues and odors plain and hill,” can be paralleled with a woman tending to her garden with love and devotion. Along with a heart-rending tone and personification Shelley uses imagery to describe nature. He refers to the clouds in the sky as “angels of rain an lightning” and the dead leaves of Autumn as “ghosts from and enchanter fleeing,” he is amazed and mesmerized by the wind, and quietly wishes to one day become one with the wind, little did he know that one day that dream would one day become a reality, seeing as he was killed by the wind in a sail boat.

On the contrary William Wordsworth has a completely different conception of nature, one of love, happiness, and affection. He views nature as a lifetime companion, as compared to his sister Dorothy. Wordsworth uses an amiable tone to depict a friend, “We stood together; and that I, so long a worshiper of Nature, hither came unwearied in that service: rather say with warmer love-oh! With far deeper zeal of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget, that after many wandering, many years,”he speaks with warmth as to characterize his lifelong companion and not to mention friend. Along with an amiable tone, Wordsworth uses first person narration to describe the times that he and nature spent together, the laughs, the cries, the disagreements and make-ups a true friendship endures, “Wherever nature led: more like a man flying form something that he dreads, than one who sought the thing he loved. For nature then (The courser pleasures of my boyish days, and their glad animal movement all gone by) to me was all in all-I cannot paint what then I was,” he sees that time has withered him and done nothing to nature, he sees that nature is more virile than ever, he is saddened but accepts that he will leave this earth and leave behind his best friend with all the memories to keep it company. Wordsworth also uses illusive imagery to portray his feeling for nature. He describes his boyish days with his good friend, like a young deer running free through the mountains and beside rivers, and he describes nature as a man fleeing something that he dreads, rather than a man looking for the thing he loves; he loves nature and he considers it his best friend and so he writes “No poem of mine was composed under circumstances more pleasant for one to remember than this.”

Hence, the two chosen pieces, “Ode to the West Wind” by Perce Bysshe Shelley and “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” by William Wordsworth, both have dominant themes referring to nature. Shelley uses a poignant tone, while using personification and imagery to unravel his theme of nature. While Wordsworth uses first person narration, illusive imagery, and amiable tone to proclaim his connection to nature.

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