Old Man Traveling: The Smithian Model

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The Smithian model ‘s ideas of sympathy play a significant role in supporting voice in prominent works by offering a stage on which the narrator can provoke his audience to sympathize. Specific Smithian ideas that are typically utilized are universal human sympathy, role taking, sympathy for silent victims, envy inhibited sympathy and lack of sympathy for immoderate emotions. One notable work which possesses this structure and these notions is Wordsworth's poem "Old Man Traveling". The poem is a metaphor that creates sympathy by presenting the narration through a paradoxical loudspeaker: a man appears serene when walking to witness the death of his beloved son. In order to evoke sympathy in the reader, Wordsworth’s narrator presents the contrast …show more content…
According to Wordsworth ’s speaker, “- He is insensibly subdued/ To settled quiet: he is one by whom / All effort seems forgotten …” (Wordsworth 6-8). While it can be argued that the subject’s unfeeling personality indicates traumatic apathy or ignorance, the Smithian model believes society automatically presents more sympathy towards silent and withstanding sufferers. Smith states: “We are more apt to weep and shed tears for such as, in this manner, seem to feel nothing for themselves, than for those who give way to all the weakness of sorrow …” (Smith 48). To present this in a real-life context, Smith offers Socrates’ death sentence as an example. The unemotional display put on by Socrates during his last minutes reduces his fellow observers to tears. This showcases the high contrast between the emotions of the silent sufferer and the emotional eruption of spectators (Smith 48-49). Wordsworth, therefore, creates pity by ironically presenting the old man as a “brave soldier” and a quiet strider in the face of calamity. This accurate theory, however, can be contradicted with another Smithian idea of sympathy. This notion primarily states that spectators can feel an exact or similar pain to that of the victim. However, in both Socrates’ and the old man’s case, spectators do not feel unemotional as the victims; rather they feel depressed or, as Wordsworth proves, even …show more content…
The narrator evinces the contrast between the feelings of the man and his spectators, his image as an enduring survivor and the unfitting external emotions he displays in response to his tragic

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