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Happiness And Its Aftermath Of Despair

1081 words - 5 pages

The Victorian and Romantic poets frequently subjected their readers to the partnering theme of love and death in their literary works. It is often found that where the subject of love is written, the finality of death will closely follow. Each poet has their various ways of identifying the intensity of love; however, both pleasure and pain are commonly depicted. An accurate statement would be that the intensity of passion leads to death. The passion most commonly portrayed is that of anger, fear or desire.
In Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “The lady of Shalott”, the intensity portrayed is that of desire. The Lady is trapped in a tower on “the island of Shalott” (9). She has a view of Camelot ...view middle of the document...

For a moment of happiness the Lady of Shalott pays a high price.
In John Keats’ “La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad” the intensity portrayed is also that of desire. Keats describes a knight, who is “Alone and palely loitering?” (2). The knight meets a fairy or siren-like woman: “Her hair was long, her foot was light, /And her eyes were wild.” (15-16), and he becomes immediately enchanted. The knight rides with the beautiful woman as she would sing “A fairy’s song.” (24). All day long they spend together, and the woman tells the knight “I love thee true.” (28). He believes her and follows her to her cave, “And there she lulled me asleep.” (33), and the knight believes he is but asleep and dreaming. In his dream-like state, the knight meets others, kings, princes, and warriors: “They cried- ‘La belle dame sans merci/ Hath thee in thrall!’” (39-40). The knight awakes and finds himself alone and on a cold hill. In the lines “Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake / And no birds sing!" (47-48), Keats implies that the knight is dying. It is cold and life is fading away. This is another example of a literary figure, in this case the knight, giving into lust and desires and paying the high price of death.
In Robert Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover”, the intensities portrayed are that of anger, fear, and desire. Browning sets the mood of the poem as a night that is rainy, stormy, and cold. The description is a metaphor for the mood of the speaker. The speaker’s lover, Porphyria comes to visit: “She shut the cold out and the storm” (7). The mood inside the cottage changes from gloomy to cheerful, “And kneeled and made the cheerless grate/Blaze up, and all the cottage warm” (8-9). Porphyria embraces her lover, “And stooping, made my cheek lie there” (19). There is very little conversation between Porphyria and her lover, except for: “Murmuring how she loved me-she” (21). Porphyria momentarily finds courage to overcome the structures set by society and runs to her lover in secret. At this moment her...

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