Mortality In Thomas Hardy's The Voice And The Going

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Thomas Hardy wrote ‘The Voice’ and ‘The Going’ shortly after the death of his first wife, Emma. She and Hardy became estranged during the later years of their marriage. As a result of their estrangement, Hardy and his secretary began an affair that lasted through Emma’s illness, one that later killed her. Each poem is an ode to Hardy’s complicated relationship with human mortality. The skill with which Hardy writes infers that once does not need to concern themselves with background in which they were written but instead should focus on the ways in which the poems powerfully present complex emotions and reflections on mortality. Upon learning of Emma’s death Hardy was overcome with guilt, as a result of his neglect. ‘The Voice’ is primarily …show more content…
The first three stanzas had a rising iambic and anapestic rhythm, which may be suggestive of the hope Hardy felt at the thought of his wife’s possible return. Hardy used that hope as metaphoric fuel in the first part of the poem, but now it is gone, and as he breaks down, a breakdown in the syntax also seems inevitable. Caesura and end stopping are used to create a faltering rhythm, in keeping with the phrase ‘faltering forward’. The consonance of the “f” resembles the pained exhalation of someone trying to fight back troubling emotions. This phrase also suggests that even though there is no hope of Emma returning, Hardy still longs to be with her. Hardy is forced to accept his loss and move on, but his renewed feelings for his wife are dead. Hardy moves away from nostalgia and immersing himself in past memories, returns to the harsh reality of life. This suggests that winter is coming, the leaves are dying, and the wind which fueled Hardy’s illusion is still. The idea of leaves falling is out place, seeing as Hardy wrote this in the springtime. This contradiction accentuates the feeling that something is out of place, that this death shouldn’t have occurred. The final line of the poem, the bitter distancing of himself “the woman” who is “calling” proves this woman is not his wife, but someone else who is causing this …show more content…
This grief is moulded into a rough elegiac structure, traveling through emotions of shock, despair and resignation, all of which often accumulate into a sense of confusion regarding his wife. However, although reconciliation does eventually occur, one cannot help but notice that Hardy has to force himself to come to terms with the loss of his wife. Moreover, behind the thin veil of acceptance, he exposes the mental frailty that grief has left behind.The first stanza is essentially questioning the late Emma Hardy on why she died so suddenly, without expressing any feelings of previous unhappiness. By asking ‘Why did you give no hint that night … you would close your term here,’ without any introduction, the author is immediately interrogating his wife. This demonstrates his pure desperation to communicate with his wife once more. In addition to this, the subject of the stanza is you, which suggests that Hardy believes his wife to be some way responsible for her own tragic death. He does so despite the fact that he had failed to notice her ill health and unhappiness. Therefore, one can interpret Hardy’s questioning to be a shift of guilt onto his wife’s shoulders, which ultimately contributes to a sense of confusion, but also seems to be Hardy’s method of coping with grief,

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