Fozia Xx
Note by Fozia Xx, updated more than 1 year ago



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WHEN WE TWO PARTED.CONTEXTBy Lord Byron (1788-1824)When we two parted is thought to be based upon one of the many scandalous relationships Byron was involved in during his lifetime. He was notorious and labelled 'mad, bad and dangerous to know' it is claimed that Byron falsely stated the poem was written in 1808 in order to protect the reputation of the lady it was written about, Lady Frances Webster, and was actually written in 1816. Lady Webster was also said to be involved in an affair with the Duke of Wellington. Byron was a leading romantic poet. THEMES:Secret, forbidden loveRegretPain, loss, DeathAngerCOMPARE WITH:Neutral TonesWinter SwansFarmer's BridePorphyria's LoverThe title refers to the painful moment the relationship ended and speaks directly to the woman, to confess the poet's reactions and response to that day.Stanza 1:The 'silence' suggests many feelings unspoken, either because this is not a mutual parting, or because there is a forbidden. secret aspect to the relationship. This is further indicated by the poet being 'half-broken hearted' and that he will be scarred by the experience for years- 'sever'The women is described as becoming 'cold' and emotionless, all warmth they may have shared is now dying.Stanza 2:Pathetic fallacy used to further the cold atmosphere 'dew of the morning'The woman's reputation is now 'light', possibly as the result of another or even this scandal, and the poet, due to his secret involvement with the woman 'shares in the shame.' The unnamed people of the society of the time are gossiping and criticising the woman.Stanza 3:The pressure of the public opinion and reputation continues in stanza 3. The rhetorical question suggests that the poet is emotionally traumatized by the affair even though he has escaped with his anonymity intact. Stanza 4:The tone begins to turn to anger and bitterness as the poet acknowledges he is left with deep emotional wounds 'long shall I rue thee'Stanza 5:The poet confesses the secret nature of the relationship and the tone change continues as the poet feels he has been deceived and forgotten by the ladyThe poem returns to the beginning in 'silence and tears' The poet has been unable to move forward since the parting and does not see himself being able to move on in the futureOrganised notesThe poem is about the painful end of a relationship, with suggestions that it was a secret and forbidden love. it is told from the viewpoint of the poet who is struck by grief. It has a bitter and melancholic tone. The structure of the poem is regular in rhythm and rhyme and highly controlled. It signifies a sense of deep reflection about the day and the relationship, as though the poet had considered it very carefully. Although the poem moves between time frames (past, present and future) the repetition of 'silence and tears' at both the beginning and end creates a circular structure. This shows the poet is unable to move forward and is stuck with his despair. The poet uses a semantic field of death. The poem is riddled with references to death and loss. Pale, sever, knell, grieve etc. The death of the relationship is also a 'death' of his happiness, emotion and future. He is mourning the loss of his love.The poet uses language to foreshadow the inevitable end of the relationship. Part of the poet's bitterness comes from the signs that surrounded him that the relationship was doomed. Foretold, warning, knell, deceive etc. There is anger that he gave so much love and yet he was ultimately rejected. The poem juxtaposes knowledge and silence/ secrecy. There is a clear contrast between the knowledge the poet has and the knowledge of others. 'They know not I knew thee.' In the same way there is a sharp contrast between the silence of the couple and the gossiping voices of others. 'They name thee before me'

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