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This poem is one of the most famous for exploring the figure of paradox. It is by no means easy, and beginning readers of poetry especially may need to be guided closely, line-by-line, in an examination of the ideas. It would be difficult within a fourteen-line limit to bring out more of the conflicting circumstances that people in love sometimes experience. The poem should be placed in the context that love is often considered the solution of all problems, the “happily-ever-after” idea of a life without difficulty and doubt. The speaker is aware, however, of all his future needs for adjustment, and therefore his apprehension is the cause of the many paradoxes in the poem.
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