Evaluate "The Scholar-Gypsy" as a Victorian poem with a particular focus on its theme and elements.

“The Scholar-Gipsy” is a Victorian poem in that it focuses on the theme of the alienation of modern life. The eponymous character wants to escape the superficialities of the modern world to enjoy a more authentic existence with a band of gypsies.

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Society changed rapidly in Victorian Britain; for some people, too much. The breakneck development of the British economy—at that time the strongest in the world—caused disruption to the lives of millions. Although most people, in their own way, were eventually able to accommodate themselves to these changes, there were some...

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Society changed rapidly in Victorian Britain; for some people, too much. The breakneck development of the British economy—at that time the strongest in the world—caused disruption to the lives of millions. Although most people, in their own way, were eventually able to accommodate themselves to these changes, there were some who were never fully reconciled to them, and hankered after a simpler way of life.

Such people are symbolized by the scholar-gipsy. He yearns to escape from what he sees as the soulless superficialities of life in the modern world for a more authentic, satisfying existence, the kind that’s led by the band of traveling gypsies he joins. In especially strong language, Arnold describes modern life as a “disease”, implying that it is a contagion which must be avoided lest one succumb to it as so many have done.

The scholar-gipsy doesn’t want to be yet another faceless victim of Victorian society; he seeks a richer, fuller, more meaningful existence. Steadfastly refusing to conform as millions of others have done, he finds his natural home among those whose lifestyle involves moving around from place to place, following their own long-standing traditions and customs. In doing so, the scholar-gipsy has finally found a way to transcend modern life by escaping it altogether. Though he still remains in the world, he is no longer of it.

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