Tkam Research Essay

Submitted By AzureTouch
Words: 1741
Pages: 7

Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Poetic Style Analysis To declare that Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poetry was inspired by the death of his closest friend, Arthur Hallam, is naught but an understatement! The passing of Arthur Hallam so deeply shook the entire being of Lord Tennyson that Lord Tennyson dedicated 10 years of his life to writing hundreds of grief-filled, melancholy poems for Hallam. Such poems written in Lord Tennyson’s darkest times include “Ulysses”, “Break, Break, Break”, and “Tears”. All three poems employ the use of similar themes and literary devices. Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s style is characterized by the theme of the struggle to continue with life, symbols, and parallelism. Alfred, Lord Tennyson uses the theme of the struggle to continue with life throughout his poetry. “I cannot rest from travel. I will drink life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly…” (Tennyson, “Ulysses” 6-8) “...to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” (Tennyson, “Ulysses” 70) In “Ulysses”, Ulysses, upon returning to Ithaca, desires for something greater than ruling as a king: to adventure. He realizes that his time is coming to an end and does not want to sit around waiting for Death to claim him. The struggle to abandon his duties as a husband, father, and king in order to travel, the perseverance exemplified by line 70, and the will to live adventurously despite the old age are reflected throughout the entire voice of the poem “Ulysses.” The theme of the struggle to move on with life is recurrent throughout many of Tennyson’s other works. “But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand, and the sound of a voice that is still!” (Tennyson, “Break, Break, Break” 11-12) “But the tender grace of a day that is dead will never come back to me.” (Tennyson, “Break, Break, Break” 15-16) “Break, Break, Break” is a poem that expresses Lord Tennyson’s inner feelings as he tries to come to terms with his grief. In this poem, the speaker has lost a close friend, much like Lord Tennyson’s real situation, and longs for the “hand” and “sound of a voice”. While looking absent-mindedly at the waves, he realizes a simple yet painful truth: the waves will keep breaking on the beach; time will keep moving; however, the fact will never change that his friend has passed and that the happy days will never come back. The speaker is grieving and as life goes on, he cannot move forward and let go of the memories of the past. The theme of the struggle to continue with life is yet again the main message of another poem by Tennyson. “…in looking on the happy Autumn-fields, and thinking of the days that are no more.” (Tennyson, “Tears” 4-5) “O Death in Life, the days that are no more.” In the poem “Tears”, the speaker continually states, “…the days that are no more.” Similar to “Break, Break, Break”, the speaker is unable to move on from the past. The entire poem describes the past, comparing it to many things using qualities such as “fresh”, “sad”, “strange”, “dear”, “deep”, and “wild”. The speaker lingers on the past and how it is the “death in life”, or the days that will never come back. Though the impact of Hallam’s passing was so strong on Lord Tennyson’s emotions that Lord Tennyson’s style dramatically shifted to a grieving, sorrowful tone with the aforementioned theme, his ability to obscure his profound meanings in poetry remained remarkable. Alfred, Lord Tennyson also uses symbols throughout his poetry. “…the thunder and the sunshine, and opposed free hearts, free foreheads…” (Tennyson, “Ulysses” 48-49) Immediately following one of the shifts in the poem “Ulysses”, the speaker uses symbols to describe his comrades. “The thunder and the sunshine” represent the good and bad times that Ulysses and his comrades have experienced together. “Free hearts and free foreheads” represent free minds, free will, and strong confidence. These symbols are used by Ulysses to convince other men as well as himself into traveling and adventuring. Without…