Poetry Essay

1060 words - 4 pages

Repetition and Tone in "The Lady and the Unicorn" and "The Unicorn in Captivity"The Lady and the Unicorn and The Unicorn in Captivity are two mysterious tapestries from the European Middle Ages that have inspired many subsequent artists and poets. Two such works inspired by these tapestries are the poems "The Lady and the Unicorn" and "The Unicorn in Captivity", written by May Sarton and Anne Morrow Lindbergh respectively. Each poem focuses on the tapestry that is its named after, but even though they do not focus on the same tapestry, they are very similar to each other in many ways. For instance, both poems make use of repetition and a similar descriptive and contemplative tone which produces the same effect in each work. The descriptive tone and use of repetition in "The Lady and the Unicorn" and "The Unicorn in Captivity" make the scenes depicted appear to be immutable and eternal, which reflects the static nature of the scenes in the tapestries.Throughout both "The Lady and the Unicorn" and "The Unicorn in Captivity", certain lines are repeated which make the reader aware that the scenes depicted are unchanging. For example, in "The Lady and the Unicorn", the unicorn repeatedly states that he is forever bowing his head to the lady in the tapestry: "I am the unicorn and bow my head/You are the lady woven into history/And here forever we are bound in mystery" (1-3). By constantly repeating that the unicorn is bowing its head, the speaker draws attention to the fact that this is a static and immutable scene. The speaker uses poetic repetition to emphasize the fact that the images in the poem and the tapestry are fixed and unchanging. Furthermore, the repeated use of the word "history" emphasizes that the moment being depicted is caught in a certain time without further action. This is important because it calls the reader's attention to the fixed nature of the scene in the poem, which is frozen in time much like the image in the tapestry, which is also unchanging and eternal. Similarly, in "The Unicorn in Captivity", the speaker constantly makes reference to the sitting position and imprisonment of the unicorn by repeating the phrases "here sits the Unicorn" (1) and "in captivity" (2) in several places throughout the poem. By repeating the fact that the unicorn is in captivity, the reader is made conscious of the unicorn's inability to act because of the static nature of time in the poem. The repetition of these unchanging phrases is supposed to parallel the situation of the unicorn. In both poems, the unicorn is caught in a particular moment and action forever. The scene is timeless and unending, just like the image in the tapestry. The speaker does this to create a connection between the poems and the tapestries that inspired them, while at the same time reflecting the immutability of the scenes in the poem. The repetition that is present in both "The Lady and the Unicorn" and "The Unicorn in Captivity" emphasize the eternal and unchanging...

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