The Supernatural in 'The Voice" by Thomas Hardy

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How effective do you find Hardy’s presentation of the supernatural vision in ‘The Voice’?

Thomas Hardy is a poet well known for his pessimism and dark and gloomy undertone in his poems. He does not believe in God or heaven, but instead in the supernatural or spiritual force. This is strongly evident in the poem ‘The Voice’. The ‘woman’ that ‘call(s) to (him)’ is his wife Emma, whose death is the source of his pain. The persona never refers to Emma by name, instead he calls her ‘the woman’, ‘she’ or as ‘a ghost’ in ‘After a Journey’ and even as a ‘shadow’ in ‘The Shadow on the Stone’. The persona no longer calls Emma by name as he no longer recognises what form she has taken now that she has passed away and ‘where (she) will be next there’s no knowing’.

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As Hardy does not accept the theory of heaven, he firmly believes that Emma is alive around him in the form of spiritual energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only converted to other forms. He believes that Emma’s soul has been converted to another form, one that is very much alive, or at least in his mind. Hardy cannot deal with his great loss, and so he recreates Emma in his subconscious.  Emma’s ghost does not haunt him; it is he that makes the decision to “see” her. ‘Let me view you then’, he says. As Emma lives ...

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