A Comparision of ‘the Wife of the Usher’s Well’ and ‘the Twa Corbies’

Topics: Emotion, Ballad, Ballads Pages: 2 (511 words) Published: November 9, 2008
Firstly I think it is critical to mention the origins of the ballads as location and time can unlock information essential to understanding. ‘The Wife Of The Ushers Well’ is not a finite piece, as over many years the word order and vocabulary may have changed due to discrepancies in the transition between generations, usually this is referred to folklore as the words are sometimes changed but the meaning and core content is the same. ‘The Twa Corbies’ is relatively similar to the ‘Wife of the Ushers Well’ in the fact that it is a traditional song that has been recorded as a record by multiple artists such as Steeleye Span who has recorded both ballads. Contextually the tone is very similar as both of the ballads are very pessemistic and bleak views and promote tragedy as a theme. For example in the ‘Wife of the Ushers Well,’ a mother loses her sons who are sailors at sea. When she finds that they cannot be found, she becomes insane. She then uses magic to try for their return, but they return as ghosts and must vanish with the morning. This is a very tragic poem which coaxes empathy from the reader towards the mother, however in the ballad she says ‘I wish the wind may never cease, nor flashes in the flood’ which shows to the reader that she wants everyone else to feel this tremendous grief she is feeling. Empathy is also an emotion expected from the reader for the Knight as he has become abandoned by his hound, his hawk and his lady and has nothing left. The Ravens, as scavengers spot him and they see his half dead soul and almost fantasize about feasting upon his dead corpse. So empathy towards the protagonists is a common function is these two ballads. Wealth is also a common factor in the ballads as there are subtle hints that both ballads feature a wealthier class of people as the protagonists. For example in the ‘Wife of the Usher’s well’ it is actually stated that she is a ‘wealthy wife’, however wealthy in this sense could also be taken into account that...
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