Analysis Of The Poem ' Lines '

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Immortal in Lines The poem Beachy Head begins with a narrator who reclines “on thy [Beachy Head’s] stupendous summit” (1). After the narrator leads readers through the idyllic scene at Beachy Head and introduces a character the shepherd, curiously, this first person narrator “I” silently vanishes in the middle of the poem. The third person narrative henceforward dominates the rest of the poem. Instead of the narrator, a stranger, later in the poem referred to as the hermit, comes under the spotlight. Adding one more dimension, this binary narrative scheme thickens the texture of this poem and thus complicates it. Although the narrative revolves around the hermit once he appears, his identity remains ambiguous throughout the whole poem. While the disappearance of first person narrator and the simultaneous abrupt arrival of the anonymous hermit might tempt readers to believe that they are the same person and raise other speculations, the hermit is a breach through which we can understand other characters and the whole poem. As the other major character in this poem, the shepherd is at the same time also a smuggler who quits “for this/ Clandestine traffic his more honest toil” (182-183). Although the shepherd is engaging in this illegal trade, “he [the shepherd] is free;/ The dread that follows on illegal acts/ He never feels” (210-212). Likewise, the boy who “on the river’s margin gaily plays” (261) is oblivious to the danger lurking behind the seemingly temperate nature.
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