What is a detailed explanation of the imagery used in Wyatt's poem "What should I say"?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wyatt's choice of imagery in this poem of betrayed love portrays physical action, which would fall in the category of imagery of motion or kinesthetic sensation (Wheeler). Some of these images are united with personification and some with metonymy. These joinings help create condensed structure and amplify the meaning of the poem. Some instances of this physical imagery are these:

faith is dead,
And truth away
... is fled
[personification, physical action]

Should I  be led
With doubleness?
[metonymy, physical action]

I see
Your double heart,
[metonymy, physical action]

Farewell, unkissed.
[physical action]

The first one, "faith is dead, / And truth away / ... is fled," personifies "faith" and "truth." The imagery is created by "fled." This clearly elicits a mental image of physical action: fleeing. The second and third ones are metonymy tied to images of physical action. A metonym uses specific words [symbols] that relate a general concept (e.g., the word "sword" to represent "war") and are often used in poetry, speeches, and fiction.

In the first metonym, "doubleness" represents betrayal and deception, as in faith being dead and truth being fled. The second metonym is similar using "double heart" to represent one who betrays and deceives. The imagery stems from "led" and "see"; both are physical action. The last example concludes the physical imagery, concludes the poem, and concludes with only physical action--kinesthetic sensation--imagery. The poetic persona leaves his betraying beloved with a "Farewell" and, ironically, the absence of action: "unkissed."

erum-iram | Student

Thankyou so much :)


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