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The Imperfect Enjoyment by John Wilmot - Essay Example

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The poem Imperfect Enjoyment by John Wilmot portrays a life and feelings of a man who is impotent. Literally, his impotency is physical incapacity while figuratively it can be interpreted as any sort of emotional as well as physical inability that results when a person is subjected to a dire or life-threatening situation. …
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The Imperfect Enjoyment by John Wilmot
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English 30 January Contradiction in "The Imperfect Enjoyment" by John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester Introduction The poemImperfect Enjoyment by John Wilmot portrays a life and feelings of a man who is impotent. Literally his impotency is physical incapacity while figuratively it can be interpreted as any sort of emotional as well as physical inability that results when a person is subjected to a dire or life threatening situation. Fundamentally the poem talks about the feelings of an individual when he is unable to perform a particular action due to his incapacity and the hatred that builds in him towards his surroundings and people around him as a result. Although the themes and the imageries used in this poem are highly explicit and sexual yet in the hind sight it reflects emotional disillusionment of an individual who has to deal with his personal insecurities because of his physical weakness. It is observed that in this poem Rochester uses various images and themes that contradict the strictures and norms of the society such as condemnation or denial of existence of spiritual love in this world and the contradictory portrayal of women in the poem etc. 2. Play of Emotions In this poem the readers observe a variety of play of emotions from high passion and extreme love to scorn, anger and hatred. 2.1. Love the poet talks about love as a powerful feeling that two individuals share when they are engulfed in the passion of love and affection as also stated in the poem, ‘I filled with love, and she all over charms; Both equally inspired with eager fire, Melting through kindness, flaming in desire.’ These three lines depict the intense feelings that the two lovers share and it also symbolizes the intensity of yearning that is there. Than again love is further illustrated in the manner in which the protagonist in the poem even knowing about his incapacities still tries to give his beloved the ultimate sense of belonging as also mentioned, ‘My fluttering soul, sprung with the painted kiss, Hangs hovering o'er her balmy brinks of bliss.’ This again reiterates the approaching inner conflict of the protagonist as well as the intensity with which he yearns for the unattainable. 2.2. Anger and Hatred Although the poet talks about the love and bliss in the beginning of the poem however it intense hatred and anger that fundamentally appears to be the prominent emotion. The protagonist’s scorn is actually result of his personal misery and suffering that he has to deal with because of his physical inability and this anger is taken out on women in particular who the poet blames to be in a constant search of physical gratification as the poet says in the poem, ‘On whom each whore relieves her tingling cunt, As hogs do rub themselves on gates and grunt.’ Although it is a big insult that is directed towards the female gender yet it epitomizes the extent of his anger and misery and his jealousy as he is jealous of all the other healthy and happy human beings. 3. Condemnation of Physical Love Rochester depicts this poem in a manner that shows that it is just the physical love that is important to human beings there is nothing more to love other than physical gratification. As stated in the poem, ‘My panting bosom, "Is there then no more?" She cries. "All this to love and rapture's due; Must we not pay a debt to pleasure too?"’ These lines further reiterate the mechanical existence of man in this world. It further stresses upon the fact that human beings only care for things that are tangible and approachable. Moreover the romantic and the idealistic concept of love is now lost in this world of practicality and materialism. However this concept seems contradictory as it is totally opposite to the idea and definition of love that is understood and portrayed by the society. According to the norms of the society love is a pure and intense emotion which reaches beyond the physical. Physical love is a binding force which further leads to spiritual and emotional connection. However the scorn and hatred that is presented in the poem for the women tells a different story. 4. Conclusion Hence it is observed that Rochester projects this contradictory idea that love is nothing but a quenching of physical longing. This new definition highlights the shortcomings of the modern man as well the shallow existence of man in general and women in specific. Read More
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