William Wordsworth 's Michael A Pastoral Poem

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William Wordsworth’s “Michael: A Pastoral Poem” is a good example of a Romantic poem. In content, the poem’s subject is an ideal country life. It argues that a life in the country is ideal and that those who live in rural areas are in close proximity to nature and God, which is the embodiment of the Romantic ideology. The influences of the Romantic period in “Michael” are found in literary forms as well, exhibited in the use of symbolism, diction, structure, and imagery. “Michael” tells the story of the life of a shepherd, the eponymous character, living with his family in the solitude of nature. It describes and idealizes the mundane life he lives as a shepherd. This is in alignment with the newfound interest in writing about the average person, instead of the aristocratic hero, that began in the Romantic period. The focus Wordsworth places on an average household of characters contrasts the practice of using heroic and exceptional characters in the periods leading up to the Romantics. In writing on the life of a shepherd, Wordsworth worked to cultivate sympathy for the working class and show a perspective not yet seen in literature. The theme of “Michael” is that mundane and secluded country life is the ideal life to lead because it puts the indivdual close to God’s divine immanence in nature. This follows the Romantic belief that walking through nature is as good for the soul as going to church. This idea is delivered succinctly in the lines: And grossly that man errs,
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