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Consider How William Wordsworth In The Prelude And Lord Byron In Don Juan Discuss The Themes Of Individual And Collective History.

1560 words - 6 pages

To a large extend, I would agree that Wordsworth's The Prelude and Byron's Don Juan has effectively used the poetic form of each epic to discuss their unique views on the themes of individual and collective history. The definition of individual history is private history of individuals, while collective history is incidences that involve the masses. In the following paper, I begin by looking at the theme of The Prelude, Wordsworth individual and collective history as well as his poetic form and functions. Then I will compare and contrast between Wordsworth's The Prelude with Byron's Don Juan.The theme of The Prelude is the development of the poet, Wordsworth, a first generation Romantic poet. It is not totally an autobiography as there are parts of Wordsworth history that are not shared. (e.g. Wordsworth marriage to Annette and his affairs) (Bygrave, 115) In The Prelude, Wordsworth seeks to reflect on incidences of his memories with nature and imagination from a child, student to the older Wordsworth. In so doing, he reflects on his memories at different periods, or spots in time, to help him re-look at these incidences that were too powerful to understand when he was young. Then he reflects its significance to the present to further develop himself as seen in a few incidences shared below.Wordsworth sees his calling as a 'Prophet of Nature' (Wordsworth, Bk13, ln 441, 446-8) and his role is to instruct man on how they should live. Since young, he sees himself as having a privilege with nature, like a 'spirit' in 'priestly robe' being 'singled out' for priestly services. Being close to nature gives joy to Wordsworth, as seen in swimming naked as a 'Boy' makes him one with nature (Wordsworth, Bk 1, ln 291-6) Nature is also a teacher to Wordsworth, such as ministering his mistakes. (Bygrave, 120) Thus when Wordsworth was a boy, his punishment for stealing a boat (Wordsworth, Bk1, ln 385-6), is dramatized by a cliff 'strode after him'. (Wordsworth, Bk 1, ln 410-3) In short, nature to Wordsworth is a moral imagination of a 'purifying force' and the past events acts to teach or train his mind. (Wordsworth, Bk 1, ln 438; Bygrave, 121) Finally, Nature can also provide transcendence [imagination], this is important for him to overcome his disappointment, such seen from his visit to the 'summit of Mont Blanc' (Wordsworth, Bk6, ln 453).Next, Wordsworth shared his collective history experienced during the French Revolution. He had great hopes for the revolution, (Wordsworth, Bk 6, ln 683-6) as he sees England as fallen. (Wordsworth, Bk 9) The French Revolution gives the promise of hope for the people against inequality and poverty, as seen in the incident of meeting a hungry girl. Wordsworth hopes that the revolution will bring forth a better model for the rest of Europe. (Wordsworth, Bk 9, ln 512-22). Unfortunately, the betrayal of the revolutionary ideals by exploitive people like Robespierre (Wordsworth, Bk 10, ln 88-128), who brought forth the reign of...

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