Comparing Coleridge and Wordsworth's Views on People's Relationship to Nature

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Comparing Coleridge and Wordsworth's Views on People's Relationship to Nature

Although Wordsworth and Coleridge are both romantic poets, they

describe nature in different ways. Coleridge underlines the tragic,

supernatural and sublime aspect of nature, while Wordsworth uses

anecdotes of everyday life and underlines the serene aspect of nature.

In order to imply a connection between nature and the human mind,

Wordsworth uses the technique of identification and comparison whereas

Coleridge does the opposite in 'The Ancient Mariner' and 'Kubla Khan'.

Both admire nature's healing strength and hope that their children

will grow up in a natural environment instead of growing up in cities.

For Wordsworth nature seems to sympathise with the love and suffering

of the persona. The landscape is seen as an interior presence rather

than an external scene. His idea is that emotions are reflected in the

tranquillity of nature. On the contrary, Coleridge says that poetry is

clearly distinguished from nature. Reading the poems of both

Wordsworth and Coleridge, one immediately notes a difference in the

common surroundings presented by Wordsworth and the bizarre creations

of Coleridge. Thus they develop their individual attitudes towards


I will look at differences and similarities concerning people?s

relationship to nature in poems by Coleridge and Wordsworth such as:

?The Ancient Mariner?, ?Kubla Khan?, ?The Nightingale,? ?Lucy?,

?Tintern Abbey,? ?There was a boy?, ? Old Beggar?, ?I Wandered Lonely

as a Cloud? and "Frost at Midnight".

In ?The Ancient Mariner,? Coleridge demonstrates how violating nature

and her subjects brings doom to the infracted. In this poem, the poet

emphasises the vengeful, dark side ...

... middle of paper ...

...heir respective views on nature. Wordsworth

illustrates man?s necessary bond to nature, one that was being

destroyed by state men. Coleridge chooses to present nature as a

natural law that one should not violate.

Coleridge?s ?Ancient Mariner? poem makes me think of a painting by the

romantic painter Turner. Especially of his painting of ? the slave

ship? painted in 1840. This painting depicts a slave ship in the red

sunset heading into a typhoon creating an anxious feeling. I think

that Coleridge poem can be compared with Turner and his apocalyptic

view of nature, and Wordsworth can be compared to Constable with his

peaceful landscape of English countryside.


Holmes, Richard. Coleridge: darker reflection: London: HarperCollins,


Abrahms, M. H, eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol.

2, 7th edition. New York, 2000

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