She Walks In Beauty Essay

980 words - 4 pages

“She Walks in Beauty” is a poem that uses juxtaposition to help emphasize the object of magnificence. Daniel Moran, a secondary school teacher of English and American literature, states that the object is “made beautiful by a perfect combination of opposites” (Moran 276). Uma Kukathas, a freelance writer and editor, further explains that “Byron overturns the reader’s expectations by associating beauty with darkness rather than light and also by showing how light and darkness merge to create a perfect harmony” (Kukathas 279). However, it is the object of beauty Byron is describing, as well as why, that receives debate. In Lord Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty,” there is controversy around who or what the beauty is, and the depth in which Byron describes it.
It is a known fact that the beauty Lord Byron describes is his cousin by marriage, Mrs. Wilmot (Kelly 275); however, Kukathas claims that “Byron, in praising and describing the lovely Mrs. Wilmot, is also praising and describing what he thinks of as the power of art and poetry” (Kukathas 279). Mrs. Wilmot is described as being beautiful on the outside as well as the inside, in which Kukathas states, “[p]oetry too can be thought of as having the internal and external beauty that is mentioned in the poem as well as a perfect balance of what is revealed (light) and what is concealed (darkness) to convey meaning” (Kukathas 279). By taking “a mortal woman” who is “elevated to a divine status,” it explains “the power that poetry has, as it takes something from the earthly world and renders it immortal” (Kukathas 280). Besides, “one of the goals of the romantic poets was to convey ideas not only through rational means but by conveying feelings and moods” (Kukathas 280). On the other hand, David Kelly, an instructor of creative writing, simply states that “[t]his poem presents itself as a work of pure love and intellectual appreciation for the object of desire that Byron had no interest in pursuing as a lover” (Kelly 274). Everyone agrees the subject of the poem is Mrs. Wilmot, though some still try to look deeper.
There is no doubt Mrs. Wilmot is beautiful. After all, “[s]he is the place where nature’s beautiful features meet and are fused” (Nikol n.p.), and nothing is more beautiful than nature. The first stanza discusses her physical beauty using great contrast, as the first two lines state, “She walks in beauty, like the night/ Of cloudless climes and starry skies” (lines 1-2). Byron discusses the beauty of her physical characteristics, in which he wrote “And all that’s best of dark and bright/ meet in her aspect and her eyes” (lines 3-4). This explains that not only is Mrs. Wilmot lovelier than nature, but “nature is a part of her” (Nikol n.p.). Furthermore, in stanza two, “One shade the more, one ray the less”...

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