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Paper Topic:

Explication of a Poem


Spellbound ' by Emily Bronte is charged with the emotional duality of the human condition . On one hand , the narrator treats the subject matter with the heavy tone of entrapment in a situation of impending doom , but on the other hand , it is a powerful expression of fortitude in the face of trouble

The poem is structured around three four-line stanzas that follow an iambic sextameter rhythm . The consistency of the rhythm and the ABAB rhyme creates a songlike semblance and light treatment of what is apparently a serious situation for

the speaker . The repetition of the last line of each stanza , some variation on I cannot go ' is reminiscent of a refrain or chorus , furthering the songlike cadence This creates a tension in the reader 's mind . How can such a weighty subject be treated with such a light rhythm and rhyme ? The answer is in the meaning of the poem itself . The title of the poem suggests that the speaker is held as if in a trance by some almost supernatural force The reader can only guess what this force might be- a lover , a family situation , a responsibility or promise

Each stanza uses the images of forces of weather to advance the notion of a coming storm . The first stanza emphasizes the dark night and wild winds ' that coldly blow (ln . 2 . The second stanza increases the tension as the reader is exposed to the image that the giant trees are bending /Their bare boughs weighed with snow (ln . 5-6 . It is this stanza that likens the spell as representing some sort of terrible storm that will inevitably trap the speaker . The third stanza gives the feeling of movement to the poem . The clouds move , and the wastes move Unfortunately , the speaker is stuck , repeating the lament or the exclamation that he or she cannot go no matter what dire circumstances may be placed in the way

The duality of human nature is clearly ensconced in this poem . On the one hand , the speaker appears to be trapped by the storm which represents this crisis situation . Even though the strongest elements of nature threaten , the speaker cannot go ' It is implied that the speaker is physically incapable of breaking free of the situation and must remain for the duration . The title and third line also suggest that this incapability may be also linked to an emotional dependence on the part of the speaker . Either one could create the effect of a spell but both together might be impossible to overcome

However , the last line of the last stanza implies something more . The speaker notes here I will not , cannot go (ln . 12 . The use of the word will ' suggests that perhaps a window of opportunity has opened up but the speaker has refused to walk through it . Instead of being incapable of leaving the situation , the storm ' the speaker implies that he or she might also be unwilling to take this step . Instead of emotional weakness , this...

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