In first two stanzas of “Ode: On Intimations of Immortality,” what is the main conflict the speaker faces?  

1 Answer

thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The main conflict in Worsworth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" is over loss of innocence. Wordsworth begins by describing how he remembers seeing the world when he was a child; the innocent eyes of a child perceives the immanent divinity in the world intuitively, especially when experiencing the joys of nature. The poet, looks back on his childhood and laments his current inability to perceive the world as he once did. For Wordsworth, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny in a spiritual sense, i.e. that each of us experiences nature as Edenic through innocent eyes as children and then experiences a fall, as it were, into adulthood, when that innocence and joy is lost. The conflict or struggle outlined at the start of the poem is one for redemption or recovery of that lost childhood joyous vision.