For purposes of this analysis, the poems by Keats and Wordsworth analyses under the rubric of poems that approach emotions by otherwise dark and/or mysterious means. Keats makes an “Ode to Melancholy” thoughtful rendition of how sorrow and sadness integrate within the realm of human emotions…
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Conversely, Byron and Blake both have a brighter perspective they discuss within the confines of the very same subject matter and theme. By means of comparison and contrast of these four different poems, this analysis will seek to provide a level of discussion and contrast between how the respective authors deal with similar topics and take widely different views concerning the outlook that these emotions portend. Within the opening lines to “Ode to Melancholy”, Keats identifies sadness and the necessary suffering and sorrow that is accompanied with it. However, rather than seeking to paint a brighter picture of hope for the future or an explanation of how suffering and sadness are merely temporal and fleeting, the author instead chooses to focus upon the understanding and acceptance of suffering and sadness. Although such an approach can be understood as fundamental concepts of Eastern traditions, it was somewhat out of place for Keats own time. Imploring the reader to integrate with the full depth of sorrow and sadness, not to take the easy way out, to drink the poison without hesitation, Keats presents a very dark representation of the means whereby the individual should accept the constraints of sadness and sorrow/melancholy, and seek to come to a more full and complete appreciation for how these emotions can define the approach and life of the sufferer. In a similar way, William Wordsworth’s poem, “She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways”, discusses the sorrowful topic of the death of a woman all but unloved by anyone besides the author. Again, rather than dwelling on the brighter topics of redemption and the hope of an afterlife, a common theme within the period in question, Wordsworth instead focuses on the level of derision, ridicule, and ostracism that the woman faced as a function of her particularly dark and morose outlook on life. By using terminology such as “none to praise”/”very few to love” describes the level of ridicule that the woman’s worldview has gifted her with (Wordsworth 1). Although the approach that she utilizes as a means of defining life is unpopular within her own community and times, Wordsworth holds this up as an example of an exemplary example of a life well understood and well lived. Within both of these poems, although the subject matter is essentially the same as well as the ultimate approach that the authors take to this, the means by which this is accomplished and the utilization of both active and passive tone helps to solidify the perspectives the authors attempt to acquaint the readers with. For instance, the utilization of the active tone within “Ode to Melancholy” is useful due to the fact that the active tone is used as a mechanism to acquaint the reader with the immediacy of action and understanding that should be engaged with as a means to effect a paradigm shift in understanding the nature of melancholy and sorrow. Similarly, on the topic of death and the ultimate conclusion of one’s way of life and worldview, the passive tone is helpful to evoke the externalities of the grave and the means whereby the death of the woman signifies that her own worldview, though unpopular within her own time was nonetheless laudable and worthy of consideration if not emulation (Keats 1).
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