Sir Thomas Wyatt

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What is the purpose of his poem "I Find no Peace"?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Thomas Wyatt writes this poem to express his ambivalent feelings about love. Love for him is a paradox, a state of being that is full of contradictions. Some of the contradictory emotions he has about love include the following: love fills him with both fear and hope. He compares love to a prison, but then notes that he stays in love's prison willingly. Love makes him want to die, and yet it makes him yearn to have good health. It makes him love another and hate himself. And yet, amid all this "strife," it is his "delight."

Wyatt describes the intense, wildly swinging emotions and moods that being in love can cause, trying to explain love's complexities. He wants his readers to know that love is both wonderful and torturous at the same time.

Because Wyatt doesn't specifically state the context of these emotional highs and lows, the poem makes it possible to apply them to a number of situations that people in love face, such as unrequited love, physical separation from a lover, or a lover who is unpredictable, sometimes hot and sometimes cold.

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granolabreath | Student

Sir Thomas Wyatt's poem "I Find no Peace" exists for three primary reasons. First it is a good example of the sonnet form of poetry. Sonnets are typically 14 line poems that most often use 10 syllables per line. Many sonnets also use a formal rhyme scheme, though this one does not always do that.

Second, the poem showcases a sense of paradox and metaphorical extremes. The notion of burning and freezing, flying but not rising, lack of peace but an ended war. These extremes contribute to the purpose of the poem's topic itself. Which brings us to the third and final reason the poem exists: to discuss love.

As evidenced by line 11 and the allusion to loving another and not loving oneself because of that. Wyatt appears to be a hopeless romantic who loves so hard he forgets himself and wanted to share that love with the world. It is also clear from the end of the poem that he knows the danger of loving and giving of himself while also knowing that love is what really feeds his soul in a meaningful way.

epollock | Student

This poem is one of the most famous for exploring the figure of paradox. It is by no means easy, and beginning readers of poetry especially may need to be guided closely, line-by-line, in an examination of the ideas. It would be difficult within a fourteen-line limit to bring out more of the conflicting circumstances that people in love sometimes experience. The poem should be placed in the context that love is often considered the solution of all problems, the “happily-ever-after” idea of a life without difficulty and doubt. The speaker is aware, however, of all his future needs for adjustment, and therefore his apprehension is the cause of the many paradoxes in the poem.

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