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A quest for intimate truths about nature is at the center of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem Alastor, first published in 1816. This 720 line long poem has strong allusions to Roman mythology, starting with its title Alastor. The poem is about the adventure in search of truth of a poet, whose actions are inspired by the mythological Alastor’s evil sorcery. In comparison, in William Wordsworth’s Resolution and Independence, the focus is confined to poets and their lives. In this sense, the scope of Shelley’s poem is broader than that of Wordsworth’s. Alastor narrates the life and adventure of a Poet, who travels far and wide so as to discern unknown truths in lands yet undiscovered. The Poet encounters various distractions and temptations on his way, including attractive maidens from various lands. He rejects the ‘Arab maiden’ due to imperfections he perceives in her. In this regard, one can read the doctrine of the ‘original sin’ and related Christian themes in Alastor. The mode in which the Poet gets his most important illumination (when a “vieled maid” visits him in his dreams one night and opens up to the Poet a world beyond the merely physical), is also akin to the role of prophecy and divine guidance witnessed in works of theology. In this supernatural world human love is regarded highly. Wordsworth’s poem in comparison doesn’t lend itself to these many layers of interpretation. Its main purpose is to describe an insight gained by the poet when encountering an old and poor leech-gatherer. Meeting the leech-gatherer upon the beautiful terrain of Barton Fell on a dewy morning the poem talks about the travails of poets without complex imagery or metaphor as is the case with Alastor. The early stanzas of the poem allude to poets from the past who perished prematurely, perhaps due to the demands placed on their health by the task of writing poetry. These eminent poets include Robert Burns, Thomas Chatterton, etc. Wordsworth fears if their fate might visit him as well. But his gloomy mood is dispelled by the encounter with the leech-gatherer, who, despite poverty and old age, confronts the challenges of life with courage and perseverance. This changes the poet’s mood from one of melancholy to one of inspiration. Having thus gathered strength by the leech-gatherer’s example, Wordsworth resumes life with optimism and enthusiasm. In contrast, the latter half of Alastor is about the Poet’s perseverance at gaining an understanding of the supernatural through natural experiences. The metaphor of a free-floating boat is perused to depict the Poet’s journey further into the depths of the natural. The swift currents of the river take him further into the realm of the infinite, where he attains a renewed understanding of man, nature and the supernatural.

A quest for intimate truths about nature is at the center of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem Alastor, first published in 1816. This 720 line long poem has strong allusions to Roman mythology, starting with its title Alastor. The poem is about the adventure in search of truth of a poet, whose actions are inspired by the mythological Alastor’s evil sorcery. In comparison, in William Wordsworth’s Resolution and Independence, the focus is confined to poets and their lives. In this sense, the scope of Shelley’s poem is broader than that of Wordsworth’s. Alastor narrates the life and adventure of a Poet, who travels far and wide so as to discern unknown truths in lands yet undiscovered. The Poet encounters various distractions and temptations on his way, including attractive maidens from various lands. He rejects the ‘Arab maiden’ due to imperfections he perceives in her. In this regard, one can read the doctrine of the ‘original sin’ and related Christian .

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