Why and how does Wordsworth look upon nature as a power that exerts a humanizing influence on man in "The World is Too Much with Us"?
In this sonnet, Wordsworth's speaker pits nature against civilization. He states that we lost something when we turned away from nature in pursuit of money and profit. The "world" that is "too much with us" is civilization: cities and commerce.
The poem argues that we have lost a vital power in turning away from nature. Nature is a spiritual force that can renew and heal us and bring us closer to the divine source. Unfortunately, modern civilization tears us away from this: we no longer notice or have an emotional response to, for example, the sea as seen in the moonlight or the sound of the wind howling:
For this, for everything, we are out of tune
The speaker asserts he would rather be a pagan in ancient Greece—as that culture had a religion tied closely to nature. This religion encouraged people to lean into the spiritual power that nature offers: the ancients would imagine mythological, godlike figures—such as Proteus and Triton, who rose from the sea. This, Wordsworth implies, kept them in touch with nature and in beneficial harmony with God's creation.
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