William Wordsworth's Nuns Fret Not Essay

949 words - 4 pages

I before e except after c, avoid omitting serial commas, and never EVER let a participle dangle. Those who choose to write are perhaps too familiar with these specific rules. Some are tedious, some are almost impossible to remember, yet all help the author to create lucid writing so her point may be established. For poetry, the case is no different. There are various forms to choose from, versatile meters to pace the reader, and the ability to layer information to gradually make a point. Some forms can be generous in what they allow the author to do, and in William Wordsworth’s “Nuns Fret Not” the author admits that forms can be restricting in meter, rhyme, and length. That does not mean however that he’s immobile, Wordsworth is able to fine-tune the rules and by doing so, demonstrates his main statement: Limits don’t necessarily need to be viewed in a negative light; if used correctly, limits can be both challenging and provide comfort instead of misery.
Wordsworth shows the possibility of finding freedom within his poem by choosing to write within the Italian sonnet’s rules. What makes an Italian sonnet unique is the division and pattern of its rhyme scheme. It is usually structured in an ABBA, ABBA, CDE, CDE pattern, and broken into two main parts, the octave (the first eight lines) and the sestet (the final six). The meter of “Nuns” can be labeled as iambic pentameter, yet along with the meter, the poem differs from the norm in two more ways. The first difference is in the rhyme scheme. In a typical Italian sonnet, the sestet follows a CDE, CDE pattern, in “Nuns” however, it follows the pattern CDD, CCD. It’s minute, but adds emphases to the 13th line, which contains the poem’s second anomaly. All the poem’s lines have an iambic nature, and all but one is in iambic pentameter. The 13th line has six feet which stresses the last word “liberty”, and tells the reader that a deeper meaning is behind this apparent change. When one reads the complete line 13th line, “who have felt the weight of too much liberty,” the emphasis is then directed onto the reader, showing that Wordsworth himself has felt that weight and offers the reader to do as he’s done, to find the benefits restraining has to offer. The third instance can be found between lines eight and nine. Usually in sonnets, both parts (octave and sestet) are separated by independent sentences, yet in “Nuns”, a sentence connects the octave and sestet, marking another breach from a normal approach. All examples show that even though Wordsworth has confined himself to a set of rules, with a little tweaking, he’s able to emphasize that one can find joy even when limited in specific ways.
Not only does Wordsworth change the structure of his poem, his diction also deviates from...

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