The Prelude by William Wordsworth Essay

The Prelude by William Wordsworth Essay

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Man's journey through life is poignantly influenced by the perspective he embraces. A perspective acts as a lens to view the world, swaying one's way of thinking and decision making. This perspective is constantly tested by the prolonged process of maturation that continues with age. The Romantic period ceded a break from intellectual conformity towards emancipation; it marked a radical shift in popular thinking, resulting in the growth in the value of literature, art and nature. Young Wordsworth's life during this inquisitive time establishes a unique context in which to describe the relation between one's experiences and one's developing views. Wordsworth's life work, The Prelude, articulates his perspective on life as he engages in the culture of his era.
Undoubtedly, the underlying theme of the Romantic Movement – consisting of artists such as Wordsworth – resonates in their emphasis on nature. The first book of The Prelude immediately introduces the value Wordsworth himself places on nature. Conveying his opinion from a mature point of view, he expresses a sense of relief and peace in returning to the nature of the Lake District. Sentiments of freedom and relaxation surround Wordsworth as he enjoys the quiet of nature, free from the tumult of civilization. Similar to other Romantics, Wordsworth discovers great understanding from his experiences in nature, which ultimately shape his maturation. Wordsworth's connection to nature births the optimism and creativity attributed to his character, which remain throughout the epic. For example, he characterizes the breeze by articulating his observations in saying,
Oh there is blessing in this gentle breeze,
A visitant that while it fans my cheek
Doth seem half-consci...


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...tion. Wordsworth’s thinking in regard to the Revolution influences his views on political philosophy as he battles to discover a balance between the radicalism of the revolutionaries in France, and the slow humanitarian reform in England.
Wordsworth’s primordial experiences as a child in nature instill tenets of Romanticism into his view of the world. As Wordsworth ages and matures, his experiences in London and France contribute to the evolution of his perspective on nature and humanity. From his retrospective analysis of nature and humanity in the peaceful garden, to his emotional experiences in the violence of the Revolution, Wordsworth clings to Romantic thought. Despite his experiences with the disarray of urban London and the terror of violence in France, Wordsworth retains the optimism and love of humanity that is central to the Romantic perspective.

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