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

This balance of opposing elements, or contradictions, is a main theme in two famous Romantic works: "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways," by Wordsworth and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," by Coleridge.

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐The Romantic Era was a time when people embraced imagination, emotion, and freedom - quite a contrast to the preceding Neoclassic Era, which emphasized the values of reason, judgment, and authority. The values of the so-called Romantics are embodied in the poetry which developed during the period. Romantic poets, such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, composed poetry filled with passion and intense emotion. Both poets also incorporated into their works two elements which came to exemplify Romantic poetry: an intense love of nature, in which man interacts and becomes unified with nature, and, as Coleridge stated, "the balance or reconciliation of opposite or discordant elements or qualities." This balance of opposing elements, or contradictions, is a main theme in two famous Romantic works: "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways," one of Wordsworth's renowned "Lucy Poems", and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," a literary ballad by Coleridge. ...read more.


Wordsworth describes Lucy as being "A maid whom there were none to praise/ And very few to love..." In other words, Lucy cared for no one, but the narrator cared deeply for her - "The difference to me!" The opposing ideas of passion versus indifference - the narrator's passion for Lucy and Lucy's indifference towards others - are also united in the context of this poem. A final example of the union of opposing elements in this poem is Lucy's beauty in comparison to her loneliness. Wordsworth describes Lucy as "A violet by a mossy stone/ Half hidden from the eye!/ Fair as a star, when only one/ Is shining in the sky." In these lines, the poet describes Lucy's beauty, inner or outer, and her uniqueness. Despite Lucy's beauty, however, she is all alone, outside the bounds of society. This idea is contradictory in two ways. First of all, Lucy may be "Fair as a star," but there is not other star in the sky, and she may be like a "violet," but she is isolated, beside a "mossy stone." ...read more.


Wordsworth united such elements as passion and indifference and beauty and loneliness within the context of his poems - in other words, these discordant qualities had union because they coexisted in a similar environment, in this case Lucy's life. Coleridge, however, saw the union of discordant elements not simply as their coexisting, but as their coming together and being resolved, as in the case when the Mariner reaches union with the sea by coming to love and cherish it. The two poets' attitudes towards the meaning of union reflect their outlook on life. Most likely, Wordsworth, who never seems to offer a resolution of the opposing elements in his poem, was a person who believed that discord was something natural and unchangeable with which we must learn to coexist. On the contrary, Coleridge in his poem is constantly resolving the discordant elements and bringing them together in a peaceful manner. His outlook on life must have been more positive than that of Wordsworth, and he must have believed that all forms of discord can be somehow brought into union, or resolved. ...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 Comparative Essays 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 Comparative Essays essays

  1. The Historyof War Poetry and the works of Wilfred Owen

    Some won medals for gallantry. Others did not. The whole variety of backgrounds gives a clear idea that the impact of war in the trenches hit everyone who served there. Forbidden from writing home with any degree of accuracy/truth about the life they led, some put their thoughts into a diary that could be kept in secret.

  2. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud I will in this essay present a ...

    The daffodils that he sees are more than flowers. He personifies them, and their beauty has an almost hypnotic effect on him. William Wordsworth also uses dualism; he describes the daffodils on the outside and the inside. They are happy in the inside and sparkling on the outside.

  1. Analyse the ways in which Tony Harrison presents the theme of family relationships in ...

    Contrastingly, in the last stanza of "long distance 2", it appears that although the narrator saw his father's phone calls as 'dismal' before; now that he has gone, the narrator is lost without him as he still relies on hearing the voice of his father for comfort; showing the love

  2. Compare the ways in which Duffy and Larkin write about the theme of Nostalgia ...

    at first seem to offer a sense of relief to the mercenary, however, the final line "And everything changed" provides a sense of how the journey and progression of time has changed unknowingly to the mercenary. An example of irony is also present here as the previously mentioned illness attributed

  1. Making reference to at least three poems, explore the relationship between man and nature ...

    The rebuttal is that books and reading aren't a requirement for learning and fulfillment, as also seen in Lines, the poet encouraging his sister to "bring no book", the implication being a closeness with nature provides whatever intellectual stimulation a man needs.

  2. Compare and contrast the ways in which Philip Larkin and Penelope Lively present ...

    This however, I believe, is irony. He is showing that it does not matter how close two people are and no matter how much they love each other, they can still be separated by history. When we are young we believe that love is all and love cannot end and

  1. In what ways, and how, does Elizabeth Barrett Browning convey deep and eternal love ...

    She may well feel whole once more and have also rediscovered her "childhood faith" by her depth of love for Robert Browning. The line "I love thee with the breath, Smiles tears, of all my life!" shows that she loves with all of her emotions, all of her experience and all of her life.

  2. The lives and works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Emily Dickinson may be different ...

    Elizabeth died on June, 29, 1861, and was buried in Florence (?Elizabeth Barrett Browning?). Likewise, Emily Dickinson?s writing was similar to Browning in the way that she crafted a new type of first person persona (Wider). ?Like the speakers in Browning?s works, Dickinson?s are sharp-sighted observers who see the inescapable

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