What is the main theme of William Wordsworth's "The Ruined Cottage?" 

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"The Ruined Cottage" is a poem that takes a deep look at despair and the destruction as a result of progress. Wordsworth writes a bleak, pitying poem that is set next to a crumbling, desolate cottage. Margaret, the lady of the cottage, is observed toiling away and trying to take care of it while both she and it slowly crumble and fall into ruin. Her husband departs for war and is never heard from again, and she slowly descends into ill health and weakness as the cottage falls into eventual disrepair.

This poem takes a look at the upheaval and destruction that have come to the natural and historic things as a result of industrialism and the new economies that were burgeoning in Wordsworth's day.

While these advancements were certainly revolutionary and helpful in many ways, Wordsworth challenges his audience in this poem to consider what they really cost. He asks if this progress was worth the destruction it has caused, as Margaret struggles to keep up with the simple chores to keep her...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 821 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 21, 2019