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The Structure Within The Battle Of Windhover

1337 words - 5 pages

The Structure within the Battle of Windhover  

The images throughout the "Windhover" recognize the battle Jesus Christ fought while He walked the earth. The battle involved Jesus fighting for humankind’s eternal salvation and the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. Gerard Manley Hopkins, author of the poem, reinforces this imagery of the battle along with undercutting the imagery to add more confusion and mystery to this already complex poem. Through stressed words at the beginning of the line, highlighting a particular significance with two and even three continuous stresses, to containing seven stresses in one line, Hopkins bluntly emphasizes pivotal words and lines in the poem, Hopkins stresses and depreciates distinctive words, phrases, and lines in attempt to emphasize significant events in Christ’s life along with the motivation of Jesus Christ through His battle.

Hopkins begins the poem on what appears to be a regular five-stressed line on an iambic baseline. However, the immediate perception of the normality of the baseline is quickly shattered because of the lack of sense the line makes. At the end of the first line, the word ‘kingdom’ is divided in half between the first line ending in "king" and the second line beginning in "dom". This disruption in meter and the absence of a harmonious rhythm reinforces the image of the beginning of human’s creation. In the beginning, God created humans out of His generosity, graciousness, and love with the distinct motive of only creating something good in His image and likeness. God continues to create humans with the same motive in mind, but unfortunately, man disrupted the complete goodness that God intended. When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, humans became enthralled with original sin and the perfect earthly kingdom divided into two, similar to the way in which Hopkins divided the word "kingdom" in the poem. What God initially designed as pure and righteous became senseless and corrupted because of humankind’s weak free will to choose good over evil. In a like manner, Hopkins began the poem with an innocent looking five-syllable line with a normal iambic baseline. In addition, humankind’s original sinfulness profoundly hurt God as well as shattering all the trust humans and God had together. Similarily, Hopkins first presents a regular five-stressed line only to see it turn confusing and wicked (to the readers at least). The original sin committed by humans caused Christ to incarnate into a divine human; therefore, launching the beginning of the battle that Jesus fought.

The second stanza starts with two highly emphasized, seven-syllable lines reinforcing the image of the ascension. Just as accentuation was placed on creation and the incarnation, Hopkins places significance on the transformation of Jesus back to His divine Godly State from His divine human form. After Jesus died on the Cross and rose again to a new life three days later, He appeared to His...

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