Love In William Wordsworth's The Ruined Cottage

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During the bustle of England's industrial revolution, many writers sought comfort in the soft caresses of the natural world. In the majority of his works, William Wordsworth presents a similar theme, returning to dwell on the lowest, ordinary things and basking in the restorative abilities of nature. Longing for the day when England would return to its rural roots, his poetry creates an idol of nature and its power. However, in this world, there exists great certainty in the uncertain nature of powerful forces. Therefore, in Wordsworth's work "The Ruined Cottage," the theme of the destructive power of nature and love is conveyed through the use of a frame story, extended metaphor, and mood.
Beginning with the most prominent feature
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First, the Man recalls the wholesome and radiant life once present at the cottage. Just as Margaret speedily welcomes her guests with love, the cottage likewise spreads its delight as the hearth "Through the window spread upon the road/ Its cheerful light" (115-16). Thus begins the metaphor, emphasizing the original peace experienced through both nature's benevolent treatment of the cottage and Margaret's deep and joyful love. As the poem progresses, the cottage garden reflects Margaret's increasing habit of wandering. Wordsworth describes, "The border-tufts-/Daisy and thrift and lowly chamomile/And thyme- had straggled out into the paths/Which they were used to deck" (316-320). Likewise, the Man recounts learning from a stranger that Margaret "was used to ramble far" (324) As nature overpowers the tidy boundaries in the garden, Margaret's mental capacities are equally overgrown in view of her husband's abandonment. As the fervor of Margaret's heart and resolve finally diminish in the closing remembrances of the Man, the cottage mirrors her dissolution into darkness. Likening Margaret's eyes to the cottage's windows, Wordsworth illustrates, as "evermore/Her eye-lids droop'd" (376-7), so "The windows too were dim" …show more content…
Often throughout the poem, Wordsworth juxtaposes ideals of peace alongside realities of destruction. For instance, as the narrator muses upon the Man's tale, he describes the cottage as "that tranquil ruin" (Wordsworth 218). By placing seemingly contradictory descriptors together, Wordsworth emphasizes a discontented disconnect between the picturesque, or the past, and the real, the present. Again, as the narrator describes the Man's countenance after his discourse, Wordsworth writes, "He spake with somewhat of a solemn tone:/ But when he ended there was in his face/Such easy cheerfulness" (199-201). Finally, as the poem closes, Wordsworth describes the setting as having a "mellow radiance" (527). These juxtaposed descriptions throughout the work create a melancholy appeal to what could or should have been. Additionally, Wordsworth's specific use of diction throughout the poem creates similar melancholy musings in the reader. This is observed in the use of richly connotative language such as "rot" (109) and "desolate" (328), and alliterations such as "silent suffering" (233). This mood of melancholy grief supports the destructive theme of nature and love in how it projects the responses to such circumstances as described in the poem onto the reader, guiding them to emote the same reactions as

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