Anthology Poems: Extra Notes (Extract from, The Prelude (Structure…
Anthology Poems: Extra Notes
Written by Shelly in a collection in 1819, it was inspired by the recent unearthing of part of a large statue of the Egyptian Pharaoh, Ramesses II.
The Egyptian Pharaohs like Ramesses believed themselves to be gods in mortal form and that their legacy would last forever.
The reference to the stone statue is likely a direct reference to the statues and sculptures like the one which was unearthed, which the ancient Egyptians made.
On the base of the statue is written (translated) "King of Kings am i, Osymandias. If anyone would know how great i am and where i lie, let him surpass one of my works."
Looking at power and conflict, we can imagine Ozymandias as a powerful ruler who sees himself as a "king of kings", perhaps a great warrior and one of the most powerful men in the world.
The poem is almost being ironic, pointing out that now all that remains is an arrogant boast on a ruined statue.
Perhaps the poet feels sorry for him or is laughing at his expense.
It looks about the inevitable downfall of all rulers and tyrants and how nothing, not even power, lasts forever.
The statue in the poem, broken and falling apart in the desert with nobody to care is an allegory of Ozymandias and of every powerful man or woman, the idea that they will also drift away until they are just another grain of sand.
Written in a
with loose iambic pentameter.
is pairs (iams, of sounds
) with 5 (pentameter, think of pent like a pentagon) in a line making 10 syllables overall.
were generally popular romantic or love poems, perhaps this being a love poem about Ozymandias, a joke about the rulers ego or simply to capture the romantic and exotic tone of a lost legend.
The rhyme scheme is irregular, perhaps symbolic of the broken statue itself, no longer perfect.
The poem is an ironic memorial to the ego of an ancient Pharaoh.
The statue is an allegory for the eventual end of power that everyone must suffer, especially the proud.
Power, like the statue is lost to the sands which in turn represent time.
The poem is about the statue of a long dead king.
The statue is breaking down, this shows how people are forgetting the dead king.
Power does not last forever.
William Blake was a poet in Victorian/Georgian England, he wrote a selection of poems in his anthologies songs of innocence and experience, most of those poems had a counterpart.
The Experience poems were often more bitter or cynical whereas the innocent poems were often naive and simple.
The poem is set during a time in England where there was poverty, child labour and a horrific war with France.
Women had no rights, death rates from disease and malnutrition were high and the industrial revolution has resulted in many large oppressive factories.
Blake's poems often railed against these and how London, arguably the greatest city in the world at that time, was so dirty and corrupt.
London is one of the few without a counterpart
Looking at power and conflict this is poem which is more about the lack of power and abuse of power.
The poem is set in the capital of the most powerful country in the world and yet words like 'manacles' suggest slavery while the soldiers sigh 'runs in blood down palace walls' a clear contrast between those with power and those without.
Revolution and People Power
During this time, France had thrown off and executed their king.
The People's revolution was meant to show that all men are equal and have power.
In Britain, a country with an old monarchy and aristocracy, this was scary.
Blake is perhaps supporting revolution, asking people to throw off the 'manacles' of their belief that they should be told what to do.
Written in four stanzas with a regular alternate scheme.
This may reflect the regular walking pace of the narrator as he walks around London.
The last line in each stanza tends to deliver a powerful statement which sums up the rest of the stanza.
Stanza 1 focuses on misery, Stanza 2 is on peoples refusal to stand tall, Stanza 3 is about the way people are sacrificed for the rich and powerful, Stanza 4 how all this poverty is corrupting everything good about family and life.
The poem is about the misery of life in London.
The poet is upset at the loss of joy and innocence.
People in power are living on the pain of others.
The poem is an ironic look at misery in the greatest city in the world.
Blake's views are revolutionary for the time, challenging the idea that man is worth more than slavery.
Blake challenges the establishment in their 'palaces' and 'churches' which are marked by the blood and blackening of good people.
Extract from, The Prelude
William Wordsworth was a romantic poet, we don't mean he wrote love poems, but he wrote poems about the world we live in which challenged people and the way they thought at the time.
During this time 'epic' poems of large length were common, as were the poems which looked at the world and man's place within it.
This extract is from a much larger poem, it looks at the spiritual and moral development of a man growing up.
However there is a sense of conflict between man and nature where nature is eventually shown to be more powerful in the end.
The poem is quite hard to relate to conflict and power.
During the poem the setting is of a journey in a boat.
The journey represents a more spiritual journey and it becomes more rough and hostile along the way.
At first, nature is shown at peace with the poet, later as it gets darker as he tries to reach the horizon it becomes harsh and predatory, putting man back in his place
Written as part of a much larger piece
This section is 44 lines in blank verse (no real structure).
The work is in iambic pentameter to give it a consistent pace.
As the poem progresses the journey the poet is on becomes rougher and words like 'and' are repeated to give it a breathless pace and feel.
"a huge peak, black and huge, As if with voluntary power instinct, Upreared its head."
The mountain is shown in the poem like a great angry entity and represents the full might and power of nature.
It seems to take offence at the poet going to far or too 'lustily'.
You could imagine it like a game of 'chicken' where the poet is rowing toward the mountain, the closer he gets the more menacing it appears before he backs away.
The poem is about a journey on the river
The poet is at peace but by the end of the journey he becomes troubled.
The journey helps show how mankind is a part of nature but does not rule over it.
The poem symbolically uses the journey on the river to mirror the poets own spiritual journey of reflection
The poet is structured to show the contrast of the serene and peaceful start where we works with nature, to the dark and disturbing battle with nature shown from when he tries to control his journey through rowing.
The conflict between man and nature is caused by mans attempt to manipulate nature, nature still contains a power and majesty beyond mankind's ability to command.
My Last Duchess
Robert Browning was a poet in the 19th century.
The son of a wealthy bank clerk, he didn't fit in as much in London society, he left the country and went to Italy to marry fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett because of her over protective father.
As a result they were both familiar with over controlling patriarch in the family as well as Italy itself.
The poem is loosely based on the Duke of Ferrara and is written from his perspective, talking to a messenger about arranging his next marriage.
The assumption being that he was dissatisfied with his former wife and killed her.
The idea of power and conflict is shown in the way the speaker (the Duke of Ferrara) is showing off his power and also suggesting the control he had over the Duchess's life.
There is also conflict between who he presents himself or who he wants himself to be and who he really is as a character.
The poem is an example of
(a speech given by one character).
It uses a large number of pauses (
) in the poem along with lines that flow into one another (
) in order to try and capture the tone of the speaker talking away to the messenger and adding in tangents (small opinions and asides).
The poem uses
this reflects the style of
at the time, despite how this poem is much more sinister and dark.
It is another facade for the Duke of Ferrara's character.
You will note he is the only character that speaks despite the fact that he is talking to someone.
The poem is spoken by a Duke and talks about his last wife
He is normally polite but the more he talks about her, the more he becomes jealous
We see that he is a powerful rich man but was in fact he couldn't control his wife, he was at conflict even though she wasn't trying to anger him.
The poem is a dramatic monologue with the Duke of Ferrara arranging his new marriage but getting swept up talking about his former wife.
The poet ironically shows that his man is rich and educated yet a fool in matters of love and honesty, both powerful and weak.
The change in tone is used to show the sinister undertones and power struggle in the relationship, he is the only one truly at conflict here.
Charge of the Light Brigade
The Crimean war saw British troops fighting in Russia.
At this time, while there were basic guns and cannons, people would still also fight or horses, to rush in and attack before they could reload or stop them.
However, the light brigade were very lightly equipped, more for scouting or attacking from the back or sides rather than charging straight in.
During a battle, a miscommunication sent the light brigade charging ahead first into the cannons of the other side, it was a huge catastrophe and many died.
It showed to the British that even mistakes can happen.
The men were respected for following orders, even though they knew they may be wrong.
Some however have criticised the way they blindly followed orders.
Lord Tennyson was the poet who was asked to write about their glorious sacrifice.
The poem is about war, life and death, sacrifice and folly.
It naturally links to conflict and is effective at showing peoples views on war of the time.
The poem also contains a lot of reference to biblical/religious ideas as well.
Valley of Death
The Christian prayer, 'The Lords Prayer' contains the line "though I may walk the valley of death".
This phrase being used in the poem is used to show the scale of importance and give the poem an epic quality.
The poem repeats a lot to remind us the charge and then the retreat.
The poem is full of violence shown through the use of language like 'sabres' and 'cannons'.
The poet thinks the men are brave calling then 'heros'.
The repetition within the poem helps capture the galloping military rhythm. This indicates the conflict and power building through the poem itself.
The poet is clearly distinguishing between the bravery of the men and the foolish 'blunder' of the orders and suggest the six hundred should be seen as heroes.
The military language is mixed with religious allusion to suggest an epic scale, emphasising the risk and bravery.
Wilfred Owen was a soldier and officer in World War I.
He died before the end of the war but during his time he saw a full horror of conditions on the front line
He wrote a number of poems about this, published after the war with the help from fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon.
The war itself was often criticised because of a huge loss of life for very little gain.
During the Somme over 60,000 British soldiers died in one day, and in all they only gained 6 miles by the end of the war.
Owen's poems were often angry that the soldiers were in muddy, dangerous trenches while the generals behind the lines were living in comfort.
Owen's poems tried to show the truth of conditions to people back home.
He was not against fighting, but was very angry about the conditions soldiers had to live with in order to do so.
The poem itself is based on war and so links to conflict.
The poem itself is about the weather and conditions of living in the trenches rather than any fighting.
It is more a poem about the
conflict between man and nature
This is extremely relevant because man has created machines that can launch explosive shells for miles and destroying the landscape, and yet, nature can still do more harm than any of it.
The poem uses a large amount of
to create an on-going sense of waiting and boredom.
The poem is made of
with a consistent use of a half line to end.
This reinforces the sense of stasis or sameness throughout the poem that nothing is happening.
There is a use of
showing words which appear to rhyme yet sound wrong when read to create the sense of unsettledness in the poem the soldiers are feeling.
Owen also uses a huge amount of
in the poem to emphasise the atmosphere and the sound of weather.
Man vs Nature
Written about soldiers in a trench we expect to see a large amount of military language, however most of this is used to describe and
the weather as if it were an army attacking them.
The poem ends with the fear of tonight and the people who will lose their lives and how none of this will change anything.
Within the poem it is weather that is represented as merciless and triumphant.
The poem talks about soldiers suffering in bad weather.
The poet feels sadness and helplessness that these men are without hope and nothing is changing.
The poet uses a lot of alliteration and pauses in the poem to make it drag out and help us imagine the weather conditions.
The poem defies the convention of war and looks at the weather assaulting the soldiers, not another army. This is to highlight the unknown horrors of war to people at home
The alliteration is used to create a sense of atmosphere to the weather and to draw parallels to the violence of war and weather.
The poet uses repetition and a consistent structure to create the static tone of the poem. The lack of change adds to the tone of despair.
Storm on the island
Seamus Heaney was a poet in Ireland, he grew up in a farming community and many of his poems were about very normal and homely subjects.
He uses a large number of agricultural and natural images in his work as metaphors for human nature.
The poem is set around a story of a small isolated cottage near the sea in a storm and the exposure to the elements.
The poem looks at the conflict between nature and man and peoples fear of weather.
However the poet also points out that the fears are really rather small in the grand scheme.