N/A Essay, Research Paper
In a relationship between a man and woman, what separates love from infatuation is having had endured trials through time and the bond between the two individuals only being stronger for having done so. The narrator, in Mary Wroth s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus, 68, is indeed being tried, to say the least, by the burdens of her male lover. Wroth uses a variety of poetic devices and figurative language to illustrate the pain that plagues Pamphilia s heart, the turmoil that she faces as a lost lover, and her pendulum like movement toward tranquility. One of the initial factors that drew me to this sonnet was the fact that Lady Mary Wroth, who was the first woman writer in England to publish a romance and sonnet sequence, wrote it. Furthermore, in a time where the most published poets were men writing with a male perspective from a male narrator, Wroth depicted love from a female perspective with a female narrator Pamphilia. From reading various biographical sources on the life of Lady Mary Wroth, I found that she was far from being a passive compliant woman. For example, after Lord Denny forced her to withdraw the published version of Urania, she verbally attacked him calling him, among other things, a drunken beast. Wroth went through a time of despair when she lost her husband though, but battled through and found comfort and hope in the arms of her cousin. In sonnet 68, the pain of Ammphilanthus memory binds Pamphilia.My pain, still smothered in my grieved breast, Seeks for some ease, yet cannot passage find To be discharged of this unwelcome guest: When most I strive, most fast his burdens bind,This sonnet is divided into four sections, marked by indented lines, the above being the first. It lays the foundation for the imagery that will follow later in the sonnet by telling the reader what the problem is and what it is being caused by. She sets the tone for the entire sonnet right away by stating My pain. The reader knows immediately that this is not going to be an uplifting romance. I also found it interesting that she used the word my when referring to the pain. Pamphilia is taking complete ownership of the pain and possibly showing that Amphilanthus is not suffering the same hardships, as the term our could have shown. This pain still smothered in my grieved breast paints a very vivid picture of this pain buried deep inside her. The still suggests to the reader that the pain has been there for quite some time before these feelings were expressed. The line continues by personifying the pain showing that the pain seeks for some ease, yet cannot passage find. This personification strengthens the pain by making it seem to be a living thinking entity and illustrates its struggle for release. The pain is acting on Pamphilia; she is the victim of the pain. Generally, each line of this sonnet ends with a comma, except for the end of the second line where there is an enjambment present. The enjambment gives the effect of this struggle to release this pain as being drawn out and agonizing because the line does not give the natural pause of a comma, but continues into further detail of the Pamphilia s torturous struggle.The third line ends with an interesting conceit that once again personifies the smothered pain by calling it an unwelcome guest. I can t quite put my finger on it, but with all the pain and emotional suffering that Pamphilia has already described and will further describe, calling this pain an unwelcome guest seems to put this raw emotion far too delicately. It is as though she, herself, is perplexed by the pain in and of itself and does not know what to do with it. This goes to show how hopeless Pamphilia is by not being able to control her own reason. I think that this section ends with one of this sonnet s most important lines: When most I strive, most fast his burdens bind. This is the first mention in this sonnet that the pain that Pamphilia is feeling is indeed being caused by her male lover. The comma acts as a caesura in this line and it nicely separates it into an action reaction format clearly showing that the more the narrator tries to rid herself of the pain, the more his burdens or memory bind her. This section has an ABAB rhyming pattern as it flows from the pain that Pamphilia is feeling to what is actually causing it. The next section s rhyming pattern is reversed from the first with a BABA scheme. It starts with what is causing the problem for the boat and concludes with the damage that is caused by the storm that Pamphilia identifies as being like her own suffering. This pattern of organization allows for a smooth transition from the analogy of the ship back into the lover s state.
The first line contains a simile which evolves into a Petrarchan conceit by comparing Pamphilia a emotional turmoil to a ship being gripped by a tempest. In this conceit, the ship is personified which has the effect of bringing it closer to Pamphilia to the point where Pamphilia says so am I ; I am this ship trying and struggling to survive, but I am lost. The third line contains a caesura that marks the point where the reader starts seeing less and less of a ship being tossed around by this storm and starts to see Pamphilia in its place. The narrator then goes into further detail of how she is Sunk, and devoured, and swallowed by unrest. I found it interesting that in this series, Wroth chose to separate each ailment with and, but the following line in the next section, each affliction is separated merely by a comma. The image of a boxer pops into my head to explain this. The and acts as a pause between each description that is not unlike a boxer setting his/her opponent up for the coup de grace. The line ends, a new rhyming pattern begins (CCD), and the boxer delivers a series of blows that leaves his/her opponent debarred of smallest hope. The series of descriptions that Wroth has laid out, like bullets from a machine gun, can be seen by the pattern of stresses. The last syllable of each verb is stressed like a wave rising and crashing into a ship. The series ends with the result on the next line with Nothing of pleasure left; and the series ends with a caesura marked by a semicolon. I am not entirely sure what to make of the phrase following this caesura, save thoughts have scope. I think that Pamphilia may be so empty and void that she feels that her thoughts may be all that she has left Which wander may, or are moving haphazardly through her troubled mind. Wroth ends this thought with a period, creating another caesura. I believe that this caesura creates a transition from the narrator being completely hopeless to, like a pendulum, starting to move in the opposite direction, the direction of hope. This can be seen by the rhythm of the line. It moves from the unstressed action of the thoughts to stressed command of the thoughts. Which wander may. Go then, my thoughts, and cryHope s perished, Love tempest-beaten, Joy lost: Killing Despair hath all these blessings crossed. Yet Faith still cries, Love will not falsify. Pamphilia seems to awaken a little from her mourning by giving her wandering thoughts the command to go and cry out. Where Pamphilia was being acted upon by the smothered pain in the first stanza, she is now acts upon her thoughts in the third. Another enjambment occurs on this line. It illustrates once again that Her pain is long and drawn out. Where there is usually a pause for the reader to catch a breath of air, there is none, Pamphilia is breathless. I also find it fascinating that each of the emotions that she describes- hope, love, joy, despair, and faith- in this section is capitalized. The narrator is heightening the importance of each of these emotions by using allegories or taking these general emotions and turning them into persons. She acknowledges that she is in the gutter. The only other point that I found noteworthy in second and third to last lines of this sonnet is that her Love is tempest-beaten, she is once again referencing the Petrarchan conceit from the second section. Love is tempest-beaten, or hurt, but it is not perished or lost like Hope or Joy. It still lives. The second to last line ends with a period that not only ends the line, but also ends all of the sulking and self-pity of the previous lines. The sonnet ends with its climax, Yet Faith still cries, Love will not falsify. Pamphilia will not lose faith that what she believes is love s ideal will not lose any of its integrity. The pendulum has already begun to swing in the other direction for Pamphilia. Where she stated earlier that she is debarred of smallest hope and that Hope s perished, she can now find hope in love.