In In Memoriam Essay

2242 words - 9 pages

The poem In Memoriam by Alfred Lord Tennyson comprises sections that differ in emotion, tone and appearance but are all unified by the speakers confusion about religion and new discoveries in science. Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species, which had many theories of evolution which include, the survival of the fittest and natural selection. These scientific developments characterized the Victorian age and confused the foundation of the Christian faith among people. The stories of the bible conflicted with the scientific facts and the people could no longer accept many of the things that the bible once said. There are many sections of the poem where the confusion is present such as in 54, 55, and 56. In the prologue the speaker confesses to god and asks for forgiveness for his loss of faith which is a foreshadowing of the events in these sections. This is where the speaker is most confused about his faith and his faith in god has completely fallen apart. The Victorian society draws a very similar connection with the poem because it not just the speaker but all of society that was facing these problems with fitting science into their own religion. In Memoriam seeks to represent the speaker’s journey to understand suffering, love, and his purpose.
The prologue was written after the entire poem was composed. The poem begins with a praise to the “Strong Son of God” (Rundle). Since people have never seen God’s face, there is no proof of his existence and he can only be reached through humanity’s faith. The speaker characterizes the sun and moon “these orbs or light and shade” (Rundle), to God, and recognizes God as the creator of life and death in humans and animals. The speaker cannot comprehend why he was created, but he believes that he was not made to die. The speaker is calling on God to justify people and ask for forgiveness for the lack of faith that he portrays throughout poem. He describes how regretful he is for losing his faith and getting spiritually lost, but he eventually found his way back to God. The prologue forces the reader to think about faith and how it connects to science and how the physical earth connects to the bible. The speaker points out that it is not easy and in the sections 54, 55, and 56 the speaker has lost all faith and is only left with hope.
In section 54 of the poem, the speaker first starts to contemplate his faith. He finds that he is desperately attempting to save his Christian beliefs even though there is so much evidence supporting the opposite. The speaker tries to focus his thoughts to "trust that somehow good Will be the final goal of ill" (Rundle). He cannot understand or comprehend that everything made by people was for nothing and he keeps his belief that God will prevail. The speaker writes "That nothing walks with aimless feet; That not one life shall be destroyed, Or cast as rubbish to the void" (Rundle). The speaker believes that God has a place for everyone in the end. Although the...

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