• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analysis of Oscar Wildes poem, The Ballad of the Reading Gaol.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

From the Ballad of the Reading Gaol-An analysis The world we live in is neither as perfect or just as we perceive it as: it is brutal and pitiless and does not even let the dead rest in peace and the dying even less so. A similar thought is expressed in Oscar Wilde's poem, "The Ballad of the Reading Gaol". Wilde, who was himself imprisoned for some time, relates the story of a man who is sentenced to death by hanging, but who comes to terms with his own death. Wilde, in his poem might be trying to convey many things: harshness of the society that is judging them, murder that is not always premeditated, but gets punished severely nevertheless, overbearing love that changes and kills the things that every man loves, the harsh and painful lives of prisoners in prison. ...read more.

Middle

Thus, Wilde retains the form of the poem as a ballad without actually singling out refrains. The line "I never saw a man who looked with such a wistful eye" or its variants seem two of the lines that are repeated throughout the poem. "Yet each man kills the thing he loves" seems to be another. These repetitions serve to re-emphasize the facts again and again and add something more to that thought as well. The repetitions are interconnected and can be seen as the continuations of the thought expressed in the previous repetition. For example, in the third stanza, Wilde writes, "And at every drifting cloud that went with sails of silver by". ...read more.

Conclusion

The seventh, eighth and ninth lines of canto I are particularly heavy in antitheses, and lists out the ways a man can kill the things he loves. The poem is written predominantly in iambic tetrameter. The exceptions to this bring attention to the lines. The seventh, eighth and ninth stanzas mostly have lines starting with a trochee, therefore calling attention to the things that have been done. This makes it seem more like listing out the things that the men do. There is also use of light and color imagery in the poem when the color "red" is highlighted and when the day is described to be "garish". "The Ballad of the Reading Gaol" is a powerful, beautiful poem. We can understand Wilde's and all the prisoner's suffering through his words. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Poets section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Poets essays

  1. Poetry analysis of 'Country School' Allen Curnow

    It's as though he finally realized that the very things that were unsettling or intimidating to him as a child (terrible doors) are not as bad as they seemed back in the day.

  2. Making close references to language, imagery and form, consider the ways Owen presents and ...

    that you aren't trying enough, but I think that this is meant to be quite ironic as it has the effect of shocking the reader who knows that it isn't true, and is therefore forced to see the actual viewpoint of Owen which is that the fighting itself, no matter how hard people try, is futile.

  1. Convergence of the Twain Analysis

    Hardy?s theme of the vulnerability of human destiny is present in many poems and is connected to his loss of faith, the poems Intenebris, and the Darkling Thrush evidently presents Hardy?s reluctance to see the beauty in fate, or God?s will, he doesn?t reconcile with this, and therefore there is

  2. "Passing Through" by Stanley Kunitz. Poem Analysis

    It is ironic that the speaker is detailed in his recount of his birthday, a day that is supposedly dedicated to his birth, to his origin, but he does not provide any personal details, or more than what is required, such as the address etc.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work