Interpreting ?Tintern Abbey? Essay, Research Paper
Interpreting ?Tintern Abbey?
William Wordsworth existed in a time when society and its functions were beginning to rapidly pick up. The poem that he ?Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye?? gave him a chance to reflect upon his quick paced life by taking a moment to slow down and absorb the beauty of nature that allows one to ?see into the life of things?. Wordsworth?s ?Tintern Abbey? takes you on a series of emotional states by trying to sway ?readers and himself, that the loss of innocence and intensity over time is compensated by a gathering of knowledge and insight.? Wordsworth accomplishes to prove that although time was lost along with his innocence, he in turn was able to gain an appreciation for the aesthetics that consoled him by incorporating all together, the wonders of nature, his past experiences, and his present mature perception of life.
Wordsworth begins his poem by describing the landscape of the abbey as unchanged during the past five years. He emphasizes the lapse of time by stating, ? again I hear?, ?again do I behold?, and ?again I see?. He seemed to be overwhelmed with emotions that he, though up on a very far away cliff, was certain that a hermit was in his cave sitting by the fire alone. Wordsworth wanted so much to remember the place that he was allowing his perception of the past take over his present reality. More importantly he says, ?I again repose here?? to express that the scene gives him a sense of compromise. He further illustrates the isolation, peacefulness, and greenness of the abbey to tap into his unclear memories of past encounters.
Although there had been a ?long absence? from the abbey, the memories of his hurried time in the Wye had consoled him ? ?mid the din of towns and cities?. ?With tranquil restoration? Wordsworth has changed from the state of observing to the state of recalling his ?unremembered pleasures?. He had many times returned in spirit to the Wye, to escape the ?fever of the world?. These memories have produced emotions beyond his understanding; enlightening him and relieving his frustrations. It is the abbey, ?in which the heavy and the weary weight of all this unintelligible world, is lightened? and makes him become a ?living soul?. Wordsworth was claiming that his perception of nature brings life to him. Wordsworth acted as if he had gained an inner peace and appreciation in nature that he unknowingly was searching for.
Wordsworth stood on the cliff ?not only with the sense of ?present pleasure? but he joyfully anticipated the moments ?for future years?. He came back to reality and began to analyze the situation. Wordsworth realized that he had lost some guidance and was searching for the presence of nature when returning to the Wye. He remembered when he used to wander and roam as free but as he matured he felt satisfied with tapping into his memories of his youth because as Wordsworth stated, ?That time is past?other gifts have allowed; for such loss, I would believe, abundant recompense?. He realized that he was involved with more mature things in life because he had become more intelligent through the years and saw nature in the light of his intelligence. However, he insisted that he was ?still a lover of the meadows and the woods, and the mountains; and of all that we behold from this green earth? but indeed, in a more composed way.
Nature played a major role in this poet?s life but it was not all about his physical senses that he took as reality. It was due to the fact that he was a “worshipper of Nature” and he knew that “nature never did betray” him. And those thoughts were what had comforted and encouraged him to connect with nature through his mind. He wanted to affirm to his readers that his mind not only receives sensation and knowledge from the outside world but it also ?half creates? by its own perception ?of eye, and ear?. One example is when he had previously described returning to the Wye and how it had brought him in a ?blessed mood?, it was not because he had actually returned to a location, it was how Wordsworth?s mind had shaped the experience.
At the end of the poem there is a surprise to his readers. He reveals that his sister had been in his company the whole time. She had a vital role in his deep thought because he sees so much in her that reminded him of himself. He addresses her as his ?dearest Friend?. He seemed to be able to read that his sister was grasping the same pleasures of his ?former heart? but through her own ?wild eyes?. He wanted her to also remember the moment because it was ?full of blessings?. And if she ever happened to be alone, scared, in pain or in grief, Wordsworth wanted her to look upon these ?healing thoughts? and think of him.
Wordsworth?s ?Tintern Abbey? is the poetry of being aware of consciousness, and the understanding of where one fits into the scheme of everything within the world. Wordsworth looked into life as an active participant ready to grasp all knowledge and understanding that was available to him. So although he missed the abbey and lost some of his youth, he had gained ten-fold by being able to interpret his feelings through his own perception and knowledge. He had found a way to comfort himself; he had found a basis for hope in ?Tintern Abbey?. Wordsworth had become more thoughtful and saw the abbey in a different way than in his youth. He had learned how to appreciate things and wanted to encourage those values in his sister. Wordsworth had found the true comfort in nature and had included that respect for nature in his life.