Thursday, February 10, 2011

Redemption - George Herbert

In his poem, Redemption, Herbert tries to portray to the reader a desperate tenant in an attempt to change the terms of his lease with a very rich landlord. He helps give the reader this feeling of desperation by forcing he/she to keep a quick and rhythmic-like place. He places emphasis on the second and eighth syllables in most cases. (Not THRIving, I resolvED...). The hurried pace is further demonstrated by the rhyme scheme in the first stanza. By incorporating an "aaaa" rhyme scheme, the reader is encouraged to read it almost as if it were a nusery rhyme (Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet/Not thriving, I resolved to be bold, and make a suit unto him, to afford)
Interestingly, Herbert changes the rhyme scheme for each stanza. He begins, as stated above, with a hurried "aaaa" then switches to "abba" before finally ending the poem with two rhyming lines. These changes in the rhyme scheme could be used to support the change in the emotions of the tenant as he continues on his journey to find his landlord. At first he is desperate, thus the hurried rhyme scheme, then confused, surprised, and lastly taken aback when he finally finds his landlord among thieves and murderers instead of at his "heavenly home." Herbert seems to use his rhyme schemes to invoke an emotion similar to his narrator.
Lastly, the rhyme scheme and the rhythm are a device for Herbert to show the reader the feelings of a distraught tenant. He hurriedly thinks of a way to lower his rent, but later as he is searching for the landlord the rhythm stays the same, but the rhyme scheme is broken up to suggest that he is confused (which indeed he is) and finds out that those tending to the landlord's property had not seen him. The tenant is further confused by the fact that he cannot find him in rich and stately places that one would believe a landlord to reside, which furthers the mixture of the rhyme scheme, but keeps the fast paced rhythm. Finally, his confusion comes to a climax as he is surprised at where he actually finds the landlord. The rhyme scheme is cut to two lines, but the rhythm again kept the same. This gives the poem the effect of grinding to a halt, almost like the tenant does when he finally reveals the location and activities of his landlord. Herbert seems to intelligently use an array of devices at his disposal to evoke the emotion of his narrator into his audience. This poem furthers my extreme love for this poet.

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