Victorian Doubt In God Essay

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Victorian Doubt in God: Alfred Tennyson's In Memoriam

When I first got this assignment I racked my brain for a topic that would interest me as well as something I could learn from. When I came across Alfred Lord Tennyson it sparked my interest and as I read on I decided that I would write about him. My next decision was to pick one of his poems to research. I finally chose In Memoriam I read the background on it and it interested me. In Memoriam is very long so I'm only going to discuss some it. But I want to begin by discussing the Victorian Doubt in God.
In ' Characteristics';, Carlyle discusses the same doubt in God that Tennyson feels in In Memoriam, a doubt that characteristically reflects religion in England under the
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In a characteristically Victorian manner, Tennyson combines a deep interest in contemporary science with an unorthodox, even idiosyncratic, Christian belief.
In Memoriam, which he wrote between 1833 and 1850 contains his most important confrontations with contemporary science, particularly with geology and biology. Drawing upon Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology (1830-1833), Tennyson anticipated Darwinian conceptions of evolution and their implications, such the extinction of entire species, including man.
As Voltaire once said, 'If God did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent him.'; Human beings hunger for an understanding of why things are as they are. Organized religion had simply been bested in performing that function by the natural sciences. Consequently, its popularity dropped considerably. Such an understanding had prompted Comte's philosophy of positivism, which asserted that mankind, was progressing from a point when it would rely on science for understanding instead of 'superstition';. In Memoriam presents the long struggle of a man trying to make sense of a world and a God that has taken his friend. In the process the concept of typology incorporates evolutionary thought into the Christian mythos. In that way, Tennyson presents for the reader a way to hold on to traditional systems of faith without rejecting the notions that science offers.
Like I said earlier In Memoriam represents a struggle of a…