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analysis of "when we two parted" by John Keats

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When We Two Parted By Lord Byron Lord Byron was a romantic poet who introduced the "Byronic hero" to literature through his poems. The poem "When We Two Parted", a personal account of grief and sorrow was written on parting with a loved one and later being burdened with the sorrow of betrayal. The first line of the poem, "When we two parted" is also the title of the poem. Perhaps this is because the grief felt by the poet at parting was so intense that he chose to leave the words as they were and didn't bother with thinking of a title. The pronoun "we" is used by the poet to make the reader enter into the shoes of the character and share the same feelings of intense grief and sorrow experienced by the poet/character, as if it were his own. The fact that they part in "silence and tears " tells us that the grief they felt was so heavy that they themselves found words unworthy of expressing it and the phrase "silence and tears" is used to express the depth of their grief as well. ...read more.


By going after fame, the lady has chosen to stand out and be in the "limelight". And, by preferring fame over love, she opted for something less valuable. According to the poet, love compared to fame and money has a higher value but she has gone after fame and broken all her promises and by doing so she has revealed her true and greedy character. The poet now changes the tense from past to present to tell us what he feels like now, now that we know about her betrayal. The poet is so grieved by her betrayal that when he hears her name being spoken, a feeling of sadness along with shamefulness comes over him because he alone knew what she was really like and was also aware of her true character as in the line "I hear thy name spoken and share in its shame". The poet uses the metaphor "a knell to my ear" to describe his feeling when they, the people mention her before him. ...read more.


The poet tells that even if meets her after a very long time he will greet her in the same way i.e. with silence and tears but with a difference. In the beginning, the grief which was at parting, was shared by both of them, but now the man is alone in his grief which id caused by the grief and sorrow at her betrayal. Structure and tone: The poem, which is a lyric, does have a rhythm and rhyme to it. The poet uses the central image of cold to link the stanzas. The pronoun we is used to make the reader share the same indescribable feeling of sorrow felt by the poet at the time of parting. The first line of the poem is also its title... this is because the poet was too grieved to make up a title. The phrase "silence and tears implies the intensity of their grief and also tells us that because of that they had to part in "silence" because they themselves couldn't describe it. The central image which is of cold is used repeatedly to imply sorrow and grief. ...read more.

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