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Thomas Hardy's "A Trampwoman's Tragedy" And Lord Byron's "When We Two Parted"

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Autor:   •  June 21, 2011  •  1,046 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,178 Views

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Lord Byron's "When we two parted" and Thomas Hardy's "A Trampwoman's Tragedy" have in common a lover's regret for love lost. However, the main narrators in these poems are very different and the circumstances in their poems show a lot about the difference that social class and gender make in the love lives seen in "When we two parted" and "A Trampwoman's Tragedy". Looking at the tone, narrator gender, and setting of these poems the reader can see how a single general theme, regret over a lost lover, gets explored in very different ways.

Both poems are in first person narration which helps lend a higher degree of credibility to the description of the intimate details and emotions. While the poems are in first person, the tone of both poems is far from the same. In Lord Byron's the narrator is a man who is ashamed and sad. He is ashamed for the love affair between him and the woman he speaks of: "I hear thy name spoken, / And share in the shame"(15-16). The man knows what he did was morally wrong and hearing the woman's name only reminds him of his wrong doings with her. When the two parted their ways the man is overcome with grief: "When we two parted / In silence and tears, / Half broken-hearted" (1-3). The man is left crying because she has left him; he truly loved her and the loss of her is breaking his heart. Most men wouldn't let themselves show this emotion when their love affair has ended.

In Hardy's poem the narrator is a woman who is very easy going and it has a light tone towards the beginning but a heavy tone towards the end. The woman does a lot of traveling and stops at various inns along the way:

We jaunted on,-

My fancy-man, and jeering John,

And Mother Lee, and I.

And, as the sun drew down to west,

We climbed the toilsome Poldon crest,

And saw, of landskip sights the best,

The inn that beamed thereby. (9-16)

She has no cares in the world which allows her to travel from one place to another with her lover when she is not married. The tone at the beginning of the poem is very light and joyous:

For months we had padded side by side,

Ay, side by side

Through the Great Forest, Blackmoor wide,

And where the Parrat ran,

We'd faced the guest on Mendip ridge,

Had crossed the Yeo unhelped by bridge,

Been stung by every Marshwood midge,

I and my fancy-man.(17-24)

The way she uses certain words, such as "Ay," makes this passage light and carefree. The term "fancy-man" is a joyous nickname for her lover and is repeated several times throughout the poem. The tone changes in a tavern one night while playing a joke on her lover: "Then up he sprung, and with his knife- / And with his knife / He let out jeering Johnny's life." (65-67) Her lover kills Johnny, a friend traveling with them over the past months, over her cruel joke, which eventually kills her lover and herself when he is put to death by hanging. She became depressed and lonely by the end of the poem.

The narrators in both stories are at one point sad, gloomy, depressed and miss the ones they love. Lord Byron's narrator is like this throughout the poem because his lover is gone from the beginning. Hardy's narrator, on the other hand, takes a twist from her happiness to the gloomy and depressing state she is in by the end of the poem. Lord Byron's


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