She Walks in Beauty Questions and Answers
by Lord George Gordon Byron

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What does the figurative language and imagery suggest about the theme of the poem "She Walks in Beauty"? What idea is Lord Byron communicating, and what poetic techniques does he use to convey his message? I need to write a short essay that answers these questions, one that includes a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph.

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A prototype of literary romanticism, Lord Byron creates with figurative language and imagery an image of a woman illuminated in the starry night, as well as a woman who illuminates the spirit of the speaker who views her. She walks gracefully and creates an aura around her of harmony and perfection, the theme of the poem "She Walks in Beauty."

Throughout this poem, there is a balance as "all that best of dark and bright," the opposing forces, meet in "her aspect and her eyes," and create harmony. The opening line—"She walks in beauty, like the night/ of cloudless climes and starry skies"—is a simile which initiates the woman's harmony with nature as well as her ethereal beauty, evoked by the second line: "Of cloudless climes and starry skies." The light/dark imagery introduced in the first line is continued in the second stanza with the words "shade" and "ray," "raven tresses," and "softly lightens." The flow of the beautiful lady's dress and her walking "in beauty" and delicate harmony is further expressed with the fluid motion of alliteration found in the second stanza: "Had half," "Which waves," "serenely sweet," and "dear their dwelling place" and "So soft, so" in the third stanza.

Certainly, then, the woman's physical loveliness and her inner beauty are in perfect harmony with the beauty of nature, and both have reached perfection. These ideas about harmonious beauty and perfection can be expressed in the thesis for the essay, written after the introductory sentences. These introductory sentences can, perhaps, explain how Lord Byron was inspired to write this poem after having seen his beautiful cousin by marriage, Mrs. Robert John Wilmot, dressed in a black mourning gown brightened with spangles much like stars against the night sky.

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