English Literature - When We Two Parted - 2016-17 GCSE AQA

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  • When we two parted
    • Language and its effects
      • Verb - sunk
        • Sense of depression and this is juxtaposed to the notion of morning - should be a time of renewal and every - instead it is a time of low emotion
      • Adjective - broken
        • This suggests a severe break, which can never be fixed or reunited. It also suggests a betrayal of sorts.
      • Verb - Shudder
        • The physical pain that comes from his emotional torment - she still has the power to hurt him - he is also portrayed as weak here.
    • Alternative interpretations
      • 'Thy vows were broken'
        • A marriage vow has been broken by the affair but also between the lovers has been broken. Perhaps a vow of silence to keep their affair a secret.
      • 'The dew of the morning'
        • Could symbolise the mans tears of ir could symbolise a cold sweat of the fear of suffering.
    • Structure and its effects
      • Contrast of ' in secret we met, in silence i grieve'
        • Shows the hushed, hurried clandestine-affair in contrast to his pitiful present now alone without her - he cannot share what happened,
          • clandestine= kept secret or done secretly.
      • Caesura of 'long, long'
        • Introduces a pause to stress how infinite his pain feels and the time he will spend wallowing in regret.
      • Repetition of 'silence and tears'
        • At the start, both were and and disconsolate - but now after all these years, if the speaker were to meet again, it would be him alone, still grieving in the same way - it suggests he cannot get over her
    • Tone and its effects
      • Deathly tone evoked through words like 'sever', 'pale' ' cold' 'chill' 'knell'
        • Suggests their is no life now for the man - a sense of emotional distance and a man trapped and constantly haunted by gloom.
      • 'Thy heart could forget'
        • Tone of isolation and betrayal from the man that his lover could move on to.
      • 'Why wert thou so dear?'
        • Tone of anger and disbelief at himself that he could have ever loved her.
    • Imagery and its effects
      • 'A knell in mine ear'
        • Sound imagery/metaphor which implies a bell being rung - the bell could represent a sense of loudness and inescapability from her memory,
      • 'Half broken-hearted' - imagery
        • Sense of being destroyed and that he can never again be whole.
      • 'Colder thy kiss'
        • Sense imager which shows she has moved on from him - uncaring and harsh
    • Context
      • Lord byron (1788-1824) was an english poet and one of the most famous members of the romantic movement
        • Deliberately vague and could relate to most relationships. She could actually read it and know without every being publicly accused.
      • This poem  is said to be about his love affair with Lady Frances Webster. Not only was she a married woman, but she was the wife of one of his friends.
        • This could be a secretive way of attacking her.
      • Once their love affair had ended, Byron had learnt of Lady Frances' new love affair with the Duke of Wellington.
        • Veiled references to vows - she had to keep her name a secret and only allude to what happened.
  • Poetic devices and their effects
    • Cold and foretold = alternate rhymes
      • There is an ominous and foreboding feel - sense of impending gloom for their relationship  - also the general alternate rhyme structure could show they are now separated and will never be together
    • Dramatic monologue
      • We see his very personal take on their relationship and his growing anger and grief.
    • Alliteration of cheek and cold, colder
      • The repetition of the consonants is cutting and harsh, suggesting their emotional distance.
  • There is an ominous and foreboding feel - sense of impending gloom for their relationship  - also the general alternate rhyme structure could show they are now separated and will never be together

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