wyatt paper

wyatt paper - Kelsey Schur General View of English...

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Kelsey Schur General View of English Literature 1 Paper 2 November 19 th , 2007 I have done! (I swear.) The Petrarchan lover is pissed. He's had it with his lady's games; he's had it with her chastity; he's had it with her constant distance. And, damn it, he's done with it all! He won't sing sweet songs to her while strumming his lute anymore. She can rot alone in her old age, for all that he cares. So, he's done with all this courting now. He's done. Now. Really. This is the plight of the speaker in Sir Thomas Wyatt's poem My lute, awake! The poem is the speaker's last song to a woman he has courted for some time while she has only toyed with his emotions. This song is meant to purge her from his feelings so that he will no longer waste his time on her. Yet by the end, the reader still wonders if he has really finished with her at all despite his efforts to be firm with himself and the listener. Through the poem's meticulously organized structure, particular language, and symbolic imagery, Wyatt communicates the lover's bitterness, and despite it all, a sense that this struggle isn't over yet. The structure of this poem is prominent even on the first reading, obviously employing a lot of repetition and neat organization. This structure not only holds the ideas together but also gives clues to their interpretations. The poem is broken up in two main ways – by addressee and by reference to time. Firstly, the switches in addressee or audience help Wyatt to organize the shifts in the poem's tone. In the first three stanzas, the speaker explains to the lute with bitterness and sadness why he shall no longer pursue the lady. After the third stanza, the speaker turns his attention from the lute to the lady. In the following four stanzas in which he speaks to the lady, accusation enters into the tone. In the last stanza, the condemnation leaves the tone and the speaker once again addresses the lute. These shifts in tone are one of the reader's glimpses into the speaker's true emotions. The speaker's complaints about the lady in the private addresses between himself and the lute are not nearly so violent as his outward
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condemnation of her in the four stanzas in which she is his audience. To the lute, his complaints are more calm and he contemplates his course of action, in contrast with the active predictions of doom that he inflicts upon the lady. If he were so resolved to break things off with this woman, would he not show the same level of emotion and anger below his outward statements? It cannot be established on this alone that the speaker is lacking resolve, but the second system of organization will offer more clues to the truth. The second, and perhaps more obvious method of organization is by the stanzas' references to time. The first and last stanzas are commands to the lute, and so are in the present tense. The second and third stanzas recount the past relationship, or lack thereof, between the speaker and the lady. The fourth and fifth stanzas tell what will happen to the lady in the near future, and the sixth and seventh
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wyatt paper - Kelsey Schur General View of English...

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