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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

THE WITCH, by                 Poet's Biography

"The Witch" is a poem written by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge in 1896. Coleridge was a British poet and novelist who was associated with the Decadent movement.

Context: "The Witch" was written during the Decadent movement, a literary and cultural movement that emerged in the late 19th century. The movement was characterized by a focus on themes of hedonism, excess, and aestheticism, and was often seen as a reaction to the strict moral and social conventions of Victorian society.

Content: "The Witch" is a narrative poem that tells the story of a witch who is burned at the stake for her crimes. The poem is structured around a series of contrasts between the witch and her accusers, and reflects the Decadent interest in themes of power, persecution, and the supernatural. The poem uses vivid and evocative language to create a sense of horror and mystery.

Form: "The Witch" is written in rhyming couplets, with each stanza consisting of two lines that rhyme. The poem is divided into five stanzas of varying length, with each stanza contributing to the overall story and atmosphere of the poem.

Poetic Elements: "The Witch" makes use of a variety of poetic techniques and devices, including metaphor, imagery, and repetition. The poem uses the witch as a symbol of otherness and persecution, and contrasts her humanity with the cruelty and fear of her accusers. The use of vivid and evocative language creates a sense of horror and mystery, and emphasizes the injustice and cruelty of the witch's fate.

Summary: "The Witch" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores themes of power, persecution, and the supernatural. The poem's use of vivid and evocative language creates a sense of horror and mystery, and emphasizes the cruelty and injustice of the witch's fate. While the poem may not be considered a masterpiece of literature, it is an important example of Decadent poetry, and a reflection of the cultural and literary trends of the late 19th century.


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