One of Brooks’s big arguments in The Well Wrought Urn is that you can’t summarize (or paraphrase) a poem and retain its meaning. The poem says something. From ig35 to ig48 Cleanth Brooks was co-editor of The South- ern Review with In addition to these and to The Well Wrought Urn, Mr. Brooks has published. Book Source: Digital Library of India Item : Cleanth ioned.
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Like an elaborate dance, it symbolizes real issues but can find room for a grace and poetry which in a more earnest struggle are lost.
Lady Macbeth is willing to go to any length to grasp the future; she would willingly dash out the brains of her own child if it stood in her way to that future. It is worth remembering that it is thus that Shakespeare, with his unshrinking clarity of vision, repeatedly sees him. Wought must be prepared to accept a method of indirection.
As Mac- beth and Lennox burst into the room, they find the daggers wearing, as Macbeth knows wfought too well, a horrible masquerade. Yet, after the harrowing scene, Macbeth can say, with a sort of dogged weariness: I point out the ambiguities, not to convict the poet of confusion, but to praise him for his subtlety and Wordiworth and the Paradox of the Imagination accuracy.
Presumably, Macbeth had entered upon his course from sheer personal ambition. There is no net strong enough to trammel up the consequence — not even in this world.
The Well Wrought Urn
Far from being wll of the contradictory elements in the poem, he quite obviously has them in mind. We have to read it in terms of the conditions for a certain dramatic propriety which the context sets up. But if Donne could have it both ways, most of us, in this latter day, cannot.
Yet, on the whole, I think that it must be conceded that the debate on metaphor has been stimulating and illumi- nating — and not least so with reference to those poets who lie quite outside the tradition of metaphysical wit. In no actual poem is the reader’s response detersnined solely by the prose-sense.
But the question as to whether the critic can make normative judgments does touch the heart of the matter; so too, the related question as to whether a poem represents anything more universal than the expression of the particular values of its time. This is a good example of what “paradox” means to Brooks: Moreover, stanza twenty-four grows out of the preceding stanza; it is human for the parting soul to wish for an understanding friend: Confronted with the skeptic or the honest igno- 52 IHE WELL WROUGHT URN ramus, the admirer has frequently found himself embarrassed in attempting to demonstrate that the poem is so fine, or in explaining its difference from the numerous eighteenth-century imitations of it, which, though filled with the same details of landscape, are so wooden and dull.
Rather, our examination has carried us further and further into the poem itself in a process of exploration.
The Well Wrought Urn | work by Brooks |
But this is scarcely a conclusion that is flattering to the antagonists of modern poetry. To take another example, Belinda, early in the poem, is compared to the sun. A little consideration, how- ever, will show that Milton could not afford to exploit mere contrast. Richards imagery images imagination implied important ironic irony judgments Keats Keats’s kind L’Allegro Lady Macbeth language last stanza light lines literary lock logical lovers Macbeth matter meaning melancholy ment merely metaphor metaphysical metaphysical poets Milton mind nature pagan paradox paraphrase passage Penseroso perhaps philosophical play poem says poet poet’s poetic poetry Pope Pope’s problem proposition prose-sense Pythagoras question reader reading relation Richards scene seems sense Shakespeare soul speaker stanza statement structure suggests sure sylphs symbol T.
Satan and his followers cheat by fleanth gunpowder.
The village itself has become a grove, wekl to the laws of nature. In glittring Dust and painted Fragments lie! Donne wrougut the modulation of tone by what may be called an analysis of love-metaphor.
We are willing to allow that paradox is a permissible weapon which a Chesterton may on occasion exploit. But there are some misapprehensions to be avoided at the outset. Brooks instead focuses on the poem’s dramatic context as the source of its power. The mistress is no longer a goddess — not even by courtesy. Casting a dimm religious light.
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Perhaps this is to oveiload an otherwise innocent phrase. The texts of the two other poems discussed, Macbeth and The Rape of the Lock, are too lengthy to be included, but the passages examined in most detail are quoted in full. There is such laughter, to be sure, and late in the poem.
Common terms and phrases actually aesthetic distance attempt attitude babe Banquo beauty become Belinda certainly child Coleridge context Corinna course divine doctrine Donne Donne’s dramatic earlier earth Elegy elements epitaph fact feel garment give glory hath heresy of paraphrase human I. Propertie was thus appalled. The sexual suggestion of blush brings in the Christian idea that vir- ginity is good in itself, and so that any renunciation is good; this may trick us into feeling it is lucky for the poor man that society keeps him unspotted from the World.
The attempt to account for it on the grounds of nobility of sentiment soon breaks down. The poem closes, you will remember, as follows: It is doubtless possible to elaborate a theory of com- munication which will adequately cover these points. He claims that Wordsworth and Tennyson frequently wrote better i. I have said that even the apparently simple and straightforward poet is forced into paradoxes by the nature of his instrument.
But there are reasons for thinking that the over- statement which I propose may light up some elements in the nature of poetry which tend to be overlooked. Tells how the drudging Goblin swet.
Some modern poetiy is difficult because it is l;ad — the total experience remains chaotic and inco- herent because the poet could not master his material and give it a form. And they thy glory through my grief will show; But do not books thyself — then thou wilt keep My tears for glasses, and still make me weep.
His other works included The Well Wrought Urn: But this is to repudiate the future, for the child is its eell. The only magic which he will allow it is a kind of charm — a je-ne-sais-quoi such as the sylphs possess.
Yet, even in history the usurper some- times succeeds; and he sometimes succeeds on the stage. The scene is reduced and the characters become small and manageable figures whose actions can always be plotted against a larger background.
The Fair and Innocent shall still believe. It could be taken off.