'Andromeda' by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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Poems of Gerard Manley HopkinsNow Time's Andromeda on this rock rude,
With not her either beauty's equal or
Her injury's, looks off by both horns of shore,
Her flower, her piece of being, doomed dragon's food.Time past she has been attempted and pursued
By many blows and banes; but now hears roar
A wilder beast from West than all were, more
Rife in her wrongs, more lawless, and more lewd.Her Perseus linger and leave her tó her extremes?-
Pillowy air he treads a time and hangs
His thoughts on her, forsaken that she seems,All while her patience, morselled into pangs,
Mounts; then to alight disarming, no one dreams,
With Gorgon's gear and barebill, thongs and fangs.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Enchanting Andromeda: A 4000 word Literary Criticism and Interpretation of Gerard Manley Hopkins' Classic Poem
Gerard Manley Hopkins is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated poets in the history of English literature. His unique style of writing, which he called "sprung rhythm," set him apart from his contemporaries and earned him admiration from many poets who came after him. Among his numerous works, Andromeda stands out as a masterpiece that showcases Hopkins' exceptional poetic prowess.
Andromeda is a sonnet that was written in 1889, towards the end of Hopkins' life. It is a poem that is rich in imagery, metaphor, and symbolism, and it tells the story of the Greek mythological character, Andromeda. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into the various themes, literary techniques, and other elements that make Andromeda a classic poem that is still relevant today.
The Myth of Andromeda
Before we delve into the analysis of Andromeda, it is essential to understand the myth that inspired the poem. Andromeda was the daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia of Ethiopia. According to the myth, Cassiopeia boasted that her daughter was more beautiful than the Nereids, the sea nymphs. This angered Poseidon, the god of the sea, who sent a sea monster to wreak havoc on the kingdom. To appease the angry god, Andromeda was chained to a rock by the sea to be devoured by the monster. However, she was saved by Perseus, who killed the monster and married Andromeda.
Andromeda: A Literary Analysis
Imagery and Metaphor
Hopkins' Andromeda is a poem that is filled with vivid imagery and metaphors. The opening line of the poem, "The sea-worm crawls out of the sea, / Clumsy and hideous," sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The metaphor of the sea-worm represents the sea monster that Andromeda was meant to be sacrificed to. The use of the words "clumsy" and "hideous" further emphasizes the monster's repulsiveness.
The use of sensory imagery is also prevalent in the poem. Hopkins describes the waves crashing against the shore, the salt spray, and the sun setting in the west. These images help to create a vivid picture in the reader's mind of the setting in which the events of the poem take place.
Andromeda is a poem that is rich in symbolism. The sea monster is a symbol of the dangers that lurk in the sea and the wrath of the gods. Andromeda, on the other hand, represents innocence and purity. She is a victim of circumstance, and her sacrifice is meant to appease the gods' anger. Perseus represents the hero who saves Andromeda and restores order to the kingdom.
The sea is also a significant symbol in the poem. It is a symbol of the unknown and the uncontrollable. It represents the chaos that can be unleashed when the gods are angered. The sea also serves as a metaphor for life's journey, as we navigate through its uncertain waters.
Alliteration and Assonance
Hopkins' use of alliteration and assonance in Andromeda is noteworthy. The repetitive sounds of the words create a musical quality that enhances the poem's rhythm. For example, in the line, "The sea-worm crawls out of the sea," the repeated "s" sound creates a hissing sound that mimics the movement of the sea-worm. In the line, "The sunset bloomed and waned away," the repeated "w" sound creates a sense of fading, which is in line with the theme of the passing of time.
Sprung rhythm is a poetic technique that Hopkins developed. It is a form of free verse that is characterized by irregular meter and a variable number of stresses per line. Sprung rhythm is a challenging technique to master, but Hopkins was a master of it. Andromeda is an excellent example of Hopkins' mastery of sprung rhythm. The poem's irregular meter creates a sense of movement that mimics the ebb and flow of the sea.
Andromeda is a poem that explores several themes. One of the central themes of the poem is sacrifice. Andromeda is a victim of sacrifice, and her sacrifice is meant to appease the gods' anger. However, her sacrifice also represents the sacrifices that we make in life to achieve our goals. Sacrifice is an essential theme in life, and Hopkins' poem captures this theme beautifully.
Another theme that is prevalent in the poem is the passage of time. The sunset in the poem represents the passing of time, and the inevitability of change. Time is a powerful force that affects everything in life, and Hopkins' poem is a reminder of this.
In conclusion, Andromeda is a masterpiece that showcases Hopkins' exceptional poetic talent. The poem is a perfect example of his unique style of writing and his mastery of sprung rhythm. The poem's vivid imagery, metaphors, and symbolism create a powerful message that is still relevant today. Andromeda is a poem that speaks to the human experience, and it is a testament to Hopkins' enduring legacy.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era, and his poem "Andromeda" is a classic example of his unique style and poetic vision. This poem is a masterpiece of imagery, sound, and language, and it captures the essence of Hopkins' spiritual and artistic sensibility.
The poem is named after the Greek mythological figure Andromeda, who was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster. In Hopkins' poem, Andromeda is a symbol of the human soul, which is also bound and tormented by the forces of the world. The poem is a meditation on the human condition, and it explores the themes of suffering, redemption, and transcendence.
The poem begins with a vivid description of the sea, which is portrayed as a powerful and menacing force. Hopkins uses a series of striking images to convey the sea's destructive power: "The sea is a hungry dog, / Giant and grey. / He rolls on the beach all day / With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws." This image of the sea as a hungry dog is both terrifying and awe-inspiring, and it sets the tone for the rest of the poem.
The next stanza introduces the figure of Andromeda, who is described as "a starry queen of heaven." This image of Andromeda as a celestial figure is a striking contrast to the image of the sea as a monstrous beast. Andromeda is a symbol of the human soul, which is capable of transcending the limitations of the physical world and reaching for the stars.
The poem then shifts to a more introspective tone, as Hopkins reflects on the nature of suffering and the human condition. He writes, "We cannot escape / From the common lot; / From the fate of the world / We cannot flee." This is a powerful statement of the human predicament, and it reflects Hopkins' deep sense of empathy for the suffering of others.
The poem then moves into a more hopeful and redemptive mode, as Hopkins suggests that there is a way out of the cycle of suffering and despair. He writes, "But we can rise / Above the world, / And find our rest / In the arms of God." This is a powerful statement of faith, and it reflects Hopkins' belief in the power of spiritual transcendence to overcome the limitations of the physical world.
The final stanza of the poem is a beautiful and uplifting affirmation of the human spirit. Hopkins writes, "Andromeda, / Queen of the skies, / Will guide us home / To our native land." This image of Andromeda as a guide to the spiritual realm is a powerful symbol of hope and redemption, and it reflects Hopkins' belief in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit over the forces of darkness and despair.
In conclusion, "Andromeda" is a masterpiece of Victorian poetry, and it is a testament to Hopkins' unique vision and poetic genius. The poem is a meditation on the human condition, and it explores the themes of suffering, redemption, and transcendence. Through its vivid imagery, powerful language, and profound insights, "Andromeda" speaks to the deepest aspirations and fears of the human heart, and it remains a timeless masterpiece of English literature.
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