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Compare And Contrast The Way Nature Is Represented In Percy Bysshe Shelley's Mont Blanc And Lines 452 542 From Book Six Of The Prelude By William Wordsworth

1666 words - 7 pages

The Prelude is an auto-biographical, epic poem by William Wordsworth, 'Mont Blanc' by Percy Bysshe Shelley is a much shorter poem, however it correlates closely to a passage from Wordsworth's epic where he describes a walking trip he took to Mont Blanc. There are some startling similarities between the two pieces, but at the same time there are sharp contrasts in the way that the scene is represented and the poets have conflicting views on what this beautiful landscape means to them. A key theme in romantic poetry is a connection with the natural world, if we look at the ways that Shelley and Wordsworth represent nature in their work then some interesting contrasts can be seen.The Prelude, subtitled 'Growth of a Poet's Mind', is a narrative poem, showing us the events in Wordsworth's life that have shaped his way of thinking and his views on nature and existence. The poem was written in blank verse, this form was reserved for epics and grand poems. Right away this unrhymed form, and the iambic pentameter which it follows, lend the poem a grand and sweeping feel, creating a sense of importance and gravitas.This passage is split into three sections; a broad description of the mountain and the vale below it, a strictly narrative passage where Wordsworth tells of how he and his friend were lost upon the mountain and crossed the Alps without realising, and finally a lyric interruption or 'hymn' (Romantic Writings p123 ) to 'Imagination' (The Prelude, Book Sixth l525). First the speaker describes the setting, the natural world around him and how it effects his emotions, then he returns to the narrative, telling us of the event that has caused him to relay us this tale and finally he conveys to us the moral implications of the event and how it has shaped his 'poets mind'.In the first section the landscape is described as 'wondrous' (TP l456) the glacier as 'a motionless display of mighty waves' (l459) but the speaker is 'grieved' (l453) by what he sees, the 'souless image' (l454) of the mountain is not as beautiful or as wondrous as the 'living thought'(l455) in the minds eye. The imagery used to personify the mountain and its natural beauty is epic and grand. Winter is like a 'tamed lion' (l466), ferocious, dangerous, but sedate and controlled, creeping down the mountain with a stately pace.The pace of the poem quickens as the stretch of narrative begins'Descending by the beaten road that ledRight to a rivulet's edge, and there broke off.' (l503-4)The shorter words, repetition of plosive and hard sounds, internal partial rhymes ('led' 'edge') and the lack of imagery increase the tempo of this section. The tripping and jumpy sound of the lines, contrasts quite sharply with the earlier flowing sentences and sweeping descriptive passages. The metre helps to create the feeling of ascending the mountain, it also lends the setting a sense of desolation and emptiness; there are rocks and streams and tracks but little else. This creates a sharp comparison with...

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