Theme Ofloss in Tennyson's Poems Essay

2545 WordsJun 1, 201311 Pages
Characteristically, throughout In Memoriam, Alfred Lord Tennyson employs the imagery of natural elements in order to portray his feelings and emotions after the death of his close friend, Arthur Henry Hallam. Perhaps the most poignant of these images is that of the wind, represented in many ways throughout the poem, and linked closely to the concept of calm despair' and wild unrest'. Often associated with notion of changeability, the wind in Tennyson's work appropriately symbolises his transformation through grief and despair and towards cheerful-mindedness' (Stanza 107, 19) and greater spirituality. This motif plays a highly important and recurring role throughout the poem, and through it's continued use, although constantly altering its creative mood and meaning, Tennyson is able to unify the poem, bringing each individual section together as one. We are first introduced to the image of the wind, or rather, the lack of it, in Stanza 11, as Tennyson highlights, through extensive repetition, the calm' of the landscape, without wind, to convey his own calm despair' in grief of Hallam's death: "Calm is the morn without a sound/ Calm as to suit a calmer grief/ And only thro' the faded leaf/ The chestnut pattering to the ground:" Coupled with Autumnal imagery, such as the faded leaf,' The chestnut' and the leaves that redden to the fall,' symbolising the passing of time, the end of life, and moving into death, Tennyson uses this natural, calm imagery to highlight death as a natural occurrence, representing his own natural and calm grieving process. By Stanza 15, however, the mood is already beginning to alter: "To-night the wind began to rise,"(1) as the scene changes, and more violent images of nature are introduced: "The forest crack'd, the waters curl'd/ The cattle huddled on the lea;/ And wildly dash'd on tower and tree/ The sunbeam strikes along the
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