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Summary Of Elizabeth Barrett-Browning And Oscar Wilde's Poetry Aloud

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Welcome back to another episode of ‘Poetry Aloud’, today we’ll be exploring the tumultuous period known as the Victorian Era. A time of societal upheaval, poets who were motivated by their negative experiences of humanity used poetry as a vehicle to change the nature of attitudes in Victorian England. Within the pantheon of Victorian poets, Elizabeth Barrett- Browning and Oscar Wilde illustrated this changeable nature of Victorian England through attempting to transform the values contemporary to their time by challenging injustices within their society. As an era of emerging industrialisation and suppressive puritanical values, Browning and Wilde called for societal and legislative change through accentuating the suffering experienced by…show more content…
Considering that Browning heard the actual cries of the children whom she so poignantly bemoans in her poem, it is evident that her ballad is rather a cry for the children. Her didactic poem is an articulate attempt to motivate legislative change for exploited children through challenging the injustices they experienced from their suppressors, in which she questions if they “ask [children] why they stand weeping sore… in our happy Fatherland?” This rhetorical question challenges those that exploit the young for the sake of their own selfish prosperity through contrasting the misery of exploited children against the shallow exuberance of industrialised England. Browning further elucidates the abhorrence of child labour by offering exploited children a voice to reveal their experiences of suppression, in which she uses direct speech to portray them as commenting that “‘It is good when it happens,’ say the children, ‘That we die before our time!’” Browning protests for change through challenging the obscenity of child labour, highlighting that death seems to be an alluring alternative to the misery exploited children experienced as they are crippled by the suppressive machine of industry. Browning uses poetry as a vehicle to protest for legislative change through challenging the
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