Critical Analysis of Wordsworth’s Poem Fidelity

By | August 5, 2016

The tropes used in the poem Fidelity are: ‘There sometimes a leaping fish send through the tarn a lonely cheer’. Wordsworth is personifying the language of poetry. Again he goes: ‘the crags represent the raven’s croak in symphony austere is also an example of personification. Sun beams and the sounding blast is an example of synesthesia where color and sound are used as comparisons.

Next I would like to comment on the legend of the poem. The fable speaks of a Shepherd who encounters a dog. At first he thinks it’s a wolf. Then later on in the poem the poet leads to the Shepherd discovering the skeletal remains of a man lying at the bottom of the precipice. The poet wants us to imagine that the dead man was a traveler who journeyed this place and the dog being his faithful companion.

There’s a haunting sense of mystery inherent in the poem. The poet uses the language of suspense and the legend to create a story of a traveler who has fallen down on the precipice. Is the symbol of the Shepherd an alter-ego the poet? The Shepherd is an archetype of a person who leads a flock. The Shepherd is a famous icon of pastoral poetry. Wordsworth’s poetry conveys pastoral nature. Nature is manifested as a philosophy that causes awe and trembling. The faithfulness of the dog elevates our sense of pity to the sublime. Wordsworth has evolved a dynamic catharsis.

Next I would to ponder on the mindset of the poet. Is the poem real or imagined? Death is a symbolic theme that is manifested in the skeletal remains of the man. Why is the poet keen on portraying or divulging or leading the Shepherd to the theme of death? In Greek myth the Shepherd symbolizes a cornucopia of fertility and abundance of vegetation. Wordsworth stuns the reader by leading the Shepherd to discover death. The Shepherd’s staff which has the magic realism of touching life is yielding to death here. Does Wordsworth want to convey that there is a Shepherd’s archetype in all of us? From fertility and lush vegetation and wine the Shepherd is lead on to the discovery of death. The dog’s faithfulness can be symbolically transformed into an identification that we should be faithful to our visions, ideals and aspirations.

Next I would like to comment on the imagery of nature used in the poem. The poet identifies the dog among the scattered rocks stirring in a brake of fern. Nature flows in poetic language. Next he portrays the dog’s resistance to the whistle or shout. The dog is symbolic of fidelity being faithful to his dead master. Nature is portrayed in the language of lamentation. Wordsworth speaks of the cove, the precipice in front and the lake beneath. Nature is so vivid like a theater screen. The poet also mentions of remoteness. The only sound of cheer is that of the leaping fish in the tarn. The other sounds are the croak of the raven which the poet personifies as an austere symphony. The poet sees the rainbow and the cloud and mist gathering like a shroud. The Shepherd makes his way over rocks and stones to discover the tragic fate. The Shepherd discovers that a man has fallen down the precipice. The poet in the end concludes the faithfulness of the dog watching over his master.

Source by Bose Anand

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