The Prelude by William Wordsworth

1181 Words5 Pages
Man's journey through life is poignantly influenced by the perspective he embraces. A perspective acts as a lens to view the world, swaying one's way of thinking and decision making. This perspective is constantly tested by the prolonged process of maturation that continues with age. The Romantic period ceded a break from intellectual conformity towards emancipation; it marked a radical shift in popular thinking, resulting in the growth in the value of literature, art and nature. Young Wordsworth's life during this inquisitive time establishes a unique context in which to describe the relation between one's experiences and one's developing views. Wordsworth's life work, The Prelude, articulates his perspective on life as he engages in…show more content…
Though the early 1800's mark the peak of Romanticism, ironically, they also mark the time of the Industrial Revolution. The love of humanity and nature present in Romantic thought is juxtaposed by increasing urbanization and entrepreneurship in Great Britain. Unique to Wordsworth, he is able to relate to not only the Romanticism spreading in France, but the rise of industrialism in Great Britain. The contrast present between these two movements forces Wordsworth’s opinions to culminate in a more convicted worldview. Following Wordsworth’s life of simplicity in London, his return to France marks the beginning of the most influential development of his perspective. Wordsworth’s connection to the French Revolution largely shapes his views of man and tests his optimism of man’s true nature. During his visits to sites like the Bastille and the Palais Royale-- intricately connected to the French revolution-- contrasting emotions of hope and fear emerge into Wordsworth’s thinking. Wordsworth’s political views further develop as he grows in relationship with his favorite French officer, Beaupuy. The two speak of humanity, politics, and history and their conversations allow the reader to more easily comprehend Wordsworth’s perspective of man. The conversations between Wordsworth and Beaupuy over humanity communicate Wordsworth’s respect and idealization of Beaupuy’s character. He describes Beaupuy as a,
Man he loved
As man; and, to the mean and the
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