Discuss examples of irony, satire, and pessimism in Thomas Hardy`s "The Darkling Thrush."

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thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Pessimism: The mood of pessimism is introduced by a description of the weather  as spectre-grey, the sun as weak, the end of winter as dregs, and the stems as strings of broken musical instruments. In the second stanza the land is pictured as a corpse and described as shrunken.

Irony: I’m not sure that this poem is intended as ironic. I think the contrast between the thrush carolling, and singing of blessed hope and the agnostic narrator surrounded by misery is intended as serious. This is a typical contrast in Hardy’s poetry reflecting a nostalgia for a kind of country life and simple piety in which he can no longer participate due to his own intellectual sophistication.

Satire: The poem is not a satire..

farid7631's profile pic

farid7631 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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In my opinion you can see irony from the beginning with the title " The Darkling Thrush". In choosing words, Hardy paid a great amount of attention to the words. He could use " The Singing Nightingale" instead of that tiltle but he didn't; and the point is that he wants to use this title to show the pessimistic atmosphere of the coming century.

Hardy wrote this poem on New Year Eve and you can find examples of pessimism from all parts of it that are foreshadowing the gloominess of the coming century. "His crypt the cloudy canopy" is an example of pessimism and irony for the loneliness and gloominess of the situation.

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