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Gothic Essay Poem Reviewing Some Famous Gothic Poems Farmingdale Evaluation

1772 words - 8 pages

Thomas Lopez Topic 1 Final Draft
A poem of the gothic genre is not heartwarming or cheerful. These poems are dark, gloomy, suspenseful and even disturbing. They represent a time when one’s greatest fear could be simply being alone in the woods and death. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ambiguous gothic “The Erlking” and Williams Wordsworth legendary gothic “Lucy Gray” are two poems that have created subgenres within the historic literature of gothic poetry. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s ambiguous gothic creates an uncertainty and a lack of decisiveness for the reader. Wordsworth’s legendary gothic creates a traditional folklore story that will be passed down for generations. While Goethe uses external conflict, indirect characterization, diction, imagery and symbolism to create an ambiguous gothic poem in which an evil being may or may not be preying on a small boy in a dark and terrifying wilderness, Wordsworth uses an unreliable frame narrative, imagery, diction and symbolism to create a legendary gothic poem about a small girl who mysteriously disappears and may or may not still walk across an eerie and mystical heath. Both of these poems are prominent due to the subgenres they have created.
Goethe uses indirect characterization and external conflict to express how the Dialogue between the boy and his father creates ambiguity within the theme of the poem. Throughout the whole poem the father is conflicted over his son’s accounts of the Erlking. The boy is just a child, thus making the reader question the credibility of his accounts. Yet the boy keeps claiming to see this mysterious Erlking. Ambiguity is created by this conflict between the boy and his father. In line six, the boy first claims to see the Earlking stating “See Father, Don’t You see the Erlking their? The Erlking, Erlking with the crown and cloak”. The father’s response in line 8 “my Son, It’s a wisp of Mist.” The boy starts with giving small details of the Erlking and the father gives small responses. As the poem goes on the description of the Erlking becomes more detailed. Goethe is making the reader question even more if this Erlking is real or just a figure of the boy’s imagination, thus creating ambiguity. The boy’s description of the Erlking become so grotesque and yet the father still just brushes them off. The more Descriptive the boy gets the more the reader believes that the Erlking is actually real. In line 13 the boy says “my father my father do you not hear? What the Erlking promises sweetly to me?” here the boy claims to be conversing with the Erlking, making his claims more believable. Then, the fate of the boy is revealed at the end of the poem. The boy ends up dead. Goethe leaves out any details of the death, leaving it up to the reader. This uncertainness of the boy’s fate is one of Goethe most ambiguous features of this poem. There are many questions that can be asked about the conflict between the father and son. Goethe’s premise of this conflict between the...

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