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Why do you think the speaker would "rather be/ a Pagan" in "The World is Too Much With...

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liz4892 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 28, 2010 at 7:06 AM via web

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Why do you think the speaker would "rather be/ a Pagan" in "The World is Too Much With Us" by William Wordsworth?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 28, 2010 at 7:29 AM (Answer #1)

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As a Romantic poet, William Wordsworth loved and respected Nature.  As the speaker of his unconventional sonnet that reflects both his Romantic temperament and his thematic tendencies, he reflects how man has become "out of tune" with Nature in his "getting and spending," and wasting of his powers; instead, he declares that he would rather be "a Pagan suckled in a creed outworn." For, he would be able to stand on a "lea" and view the beautiful landscape that would soothe his damaged spirit rather which would make him less "forlorn" than being in the "petty pace of day to day" of the civilized world.

With "World" representing the system of life in an decadent and industrialized West, the life of the pagan is one of spiritual contentment and communication with Nature, which represents spiritual truth.  Wordsworth's sonnet is a call to arms against the industrial world's rejection of "a creed outworn," a creed of Nature that imbues man with spiritual truth.

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