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Compare the atmopshere between "The Prisoner of Chillon" and "Morte d'Arthur"

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Compare the atmosphere between "The Prisoner of Chillon" and "Morte d'Arthur" In Tennyson's "Morte d'Arthur" and Byron's "The Prisoner of Chillon" the dominant atmosphere is one of depression, darkness and despair. This mood is achieved through both poets use of setting, portraying the characters' feelings, creation of pathos and moments of contrasting atmosphere. "Morte d'Arthur" has as its subject King Arthur's progressive deterioration and preparation for his death with the help of Sir Bedivere. "The Prisoner of Chillon" focuses on the four years of confinement that Fran�ois de Bonnivard, a political activist, endured as well as witnessing the death of his two brothers while in prison. From these two poems, the theme of death stands out as it is frequently mentioned and both poets use similar techniques to create this melancholic atmosphere. Despite the fact that one poem is set mainly indoors and the other out in the open, the atmosphere is quite similar in both poems and this is achieved by use of setting. Byron's "The Prisoner of Chillon" takes place in the dungeons of a castle. From the opening of the poem, we learn how terrible the living conditions were for Fran�ois, as the dungeons described as "deep and old", "massy and grey", making the atmosphere seem very grim, morose and depressing. ...read more.


The description is not only visual but aural; the reader may hear the clash of armour among the echoing cliffs and the ringing of his heels on the crags. In a similar way, Byron's poetic work tells the struggle between a person's ending their suffering and accepting it rather than holding onto the hope of freedom. The narrator says: "we were seven - now we are one", and this adds to the sense of pathos because it emphasises on how difficult it was for the prisoner to cope after his brothers had passed away, leaving him to endure the loneliness, with "no strength to stir, or strive" - as he had nothing left, his family was all gone and he was the one "bound to my [his] failing race". Both poets emphasise on the characters feelings in both poems, especially on the feeling on loneliness. In "Morte d'Arthur", the death of Arthur indicates not only the death of an old order and the dissolution of the Round Table, but also the desolation of Sir Bedivere who still cannot this order: "Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?" he cries, "For now I see the true old times are dead"; he, the last of Arthurs's knights must "go forth companionless". ...read more.


The contrasting mood does further when Fran�ois notices a bird outside the window. The bird is described as a "lovely bird, with azure wings", the use of colour to describe the bird also goes against the dark atmosphere of the poem as this is the first time colour has been mentioned and for a brief moment, it makes the poem sound more joyous as death and darkness is not mentioned for a while. However, that feeling is short-lived as the bird eventually flies away and the sorrowful mood dominates the joyous atmosphere. A similar effect takes place in "Morte d'Arthur", as in the opening of the poem the surrounding is bleak and empty and the atmosphere is one of sadness and woe. However, when Bedivere finally succeeds in throwing the sword into the lake, the whole atmosphere changes because an arm "clothed in white samite, mystic and wonderful" receives the sword and this description of light contradicts against the feeling of death. So to conclude, the atmosphere created in both poems is from the use of many techniques such as exploring the characters feelings and contrasting settings. Tennyson, for example, begins his poem in a mournful tone and ends with the atmosphere being saddening but slightly cheerful at the same time. ...read more.

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