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What do you think is Wordsworth's attitude toward death?

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alliechoy | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 25, 2011 at 4:08 PM via web

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What do you think is Wordsworth's attitude toward death?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 25, 2011 at 6:23 PM (Answer #1)

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Wordsworth's poem is looking upon the ruins of a monastery that had been dissolved by Henry VIII centuries before Wordsworth's visit. It had been a monastery of the strict Cistercian order in a remote area, withdrawn from the world and close to nature. For Wordsworth, the religious sentiment, the love of nature, and the nostalgia for a more innocent past all surface together in this poem.

The important lines for his attititude towards death are:

... that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,—
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:

In this he portrays death almost in a Platonist sense as a blissful separation of the soul from the body and a dissolution into a nature in which the divine is immanent. His attitude towards death seems strongly religious, albeit not connected to dogmatic theology, but rather to a longing for a return of the soul to some form of union with the divine.

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