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A2 Aqa Comparison: Jealousy, When You Are Old and Wider Reading

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Comparison: Jealousy, When You Are Old and wider Reading
Unlike When You Are Old, Jealousy is presented with a rhyme scheme that is very irregular, which could be Coleridge’s suggestion that, once jealous, lovers lose control over their words and the structure. The first stanza starts off with a refined interlocking rhyme and ends with an alliteration of the last words of the last two lines. This suggests that lover cannot speak in a refined and logical manner, that would contribute to their social status. This creates a sense that for Romanticists society has little importance in loving relationships, as the feelings overpower the speakers’ words. Furthermore, the ‘lady’ argues against the ‘lord’ with repetition of his own words, that could have an undermining or even mocking tone, but could also suggest that ‘lady’ is passionate in her jealousy and almost arguing against the ‘lord’ for the sake of it, that makes the interpretation of passionate feelings more valid. It can also be fairly confidently claimed that by taking the loose structure, Coleridge writes in rebellion against the logic and order that were praised in the age of Enlightenment by showing that order and passionate emotions are opposing forces. However, a Victorian reader would interpret this as a presentation that passionate feelings are a source of weakness and imperfection. Rebellion against order and suggestion of uncontrolled passion can also be found in the poem ‘Remember’ by Rosetti. Despite presenting the poem in 14 lines, that immediately suggests that this is meant to be a sonnet, Rosetti takes a rhyme scheme that is more irregular than Colderidge’s. The enclosed rhyme changes into an erratic CDDECE showing that feelings do not allow the narrative voice of the poem to keep a pattern. The bending of the rules is in a pre-Raphaelitan style suggests that Rosetti favours the speaker’s return to what feels natural and more practical in expression of passionate wishes, making the social structures appear negligible and possibly even oppressing for lovers, which would be a direct critique of the inhuman expectations from lovers. However, unlike Yeats, Rosetti only uses the rhyme pattern to express increasing passion, while the rest of the poem contains imperative sentences that give the addressee guidance in a very protective and practical manner, suggesting that the relationship, that is presented, prioritises practicality over emotions.
Yeats also uses progression through the poem, but he uses progression of reader’s understanding of the narrative voice’s feelings and situation from one stanza to the next, which could be a suggestion that love cannot be predicted or seen through. This echoes Byron’s presentation of his lover in She Walks in Beauty, where first sextet is committed only committed to subject’s appearance, the second hints of subject’s personality with the line ‘where thoughts serenely sweet express’ and third ends with an exclamation of ‘a heart whose love is innocent’, that suggests that intimacy is built with time and understanding needs time to develop, while love is more instant. These two gradual progressions contrast with Coleridge’s two stanzas, that present the situation but do not seem to change throughout, even when the subject changes from ‘lady’ and ‘lord’ to ‘Queen’ and ‘King’, which could be a suggestion that once trapped in the circle of jealousy, it is impossible to get out. In contrast, the line ‘but one man loved the pilgrim soul in you’ on one hand is presented in past tense, suggesting that feelings of love can change. On the other hand, the line adds a sense of commitment and hope for reunion. The hope is increased as the poem is clearly suggested to be inspired by Shakespearean sonnets as even its quatrains are divided, so the only lacking feature is the rhyming couplet at the end. The more affectionate readers could expect a couplet requesting the addressee to join him ‘upon the mountains’, while the pessimistic readers could expect a couplet expressing rejection in revenge. A Modernist reader could interpret this to be an attempt of solipsistic presentation of love, as a very subjective emotion that is perceived differently by everyone. However, this also suggests that what is unseen is equally important to what is seen, echoing Coleridge’s words ‘you wedded one of those that see unseen’. The unseen remains equally important to Post-Moderninst lovers, as it is presented by Leonard Cohen in poem The Cuckold’s Song. On one hand a strong feelings of speaker’s solitude is conveyed in line ‘the important thing was to cuckold Leonard Cohen’, as the line does not imply which lover aimed to hurt him, which arguably reinforces a sense of the whole world being his enemy at this point. Furthermore the unseen has strong impact on the lover, since despite not having seen the act of unfaithfulness, the act triggers metamorphosis into ‘gold’. The use of word ‘gold’ suggests simultaneously high value and hardness of spirit, which by extension suggests that although the speaker was hurt, he benefited from the act. Alternatively, a reader with Socialist political views could argue that the gold presents that when solitary, the speaker becomes lonely and without warmth of emotion.
The imagery of gold from The Cuckold’s Song contrasts with the far more organic imagery of ‘myrtle’ in poem Jealousy as gold appears to be more durable. Cohen could have chosen gold as his metaphor also to portray how genuine a strong his feelings are at this point. However, Coleridge’s presentation is that myrtle is equally indestructible by man-made objects, such as the sword. This could mean that the delusions that a jealous lover holds are indestructible, but it could also illustrate that love cannot be tamed by social structures. However, this imagery could be suggest, in reaction to industrial revolution, that man cannot overpower nature. A very similar comment is made by Yeats, when the speaker ‘hid his face amid a crowd of stars’ suggesting that he seeks refuge in nature, which would present more value of happiness in countryside life than city. However, the ‘crowd of stars’ could also be a metaphor for a countless number of ruined lovers, suggesting that love is a destructive but also uniting force. Paterson echoes the idea of relationship creating bonds, but he focuses more on the bond it creates between the two lovers. The motif of a wreck for a relationship is presented as what lovers get attached to by the last visit of the wreck, even when it is all over, that clearly holds a lot of meaning to both lovers as they follow the ceremonial steps of drinking, lighting candles and having an intercourse as if they were still proper lovers. What is more, even when the ‘trip’ is clearly over, the speaker of the poem still speaks in plural form, that suggests that he has strongly bonded with his partner. The use of object of wreck, creates a sense that while there are natural forces that have ruined the ship, it is still something that is partly manmade, which gives the poem more sense of power than the natural imagery in Jealousy and When You Are Old.…...

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