TONE ANALYSIS: Despair and Hope
The tone of this poem is despair and hope at the same time. Orpheus’ dream is about what happened to his beloved wife and how he misses her. Hope is the desire for something to happen and the thought that it will happen. Orpheus was very hopeful traveling back to the live world with his wife. Thoughts of being happy again and being able to see Eurydice again lifted him up. He went to get her and in that moment of bringing her back home, there was a little hope and it seemed like everything was going to be alright. But then everything wasn’t. Orpheus looked back at her and because of that, she was stuck in “Hades’ empty hall” (Muir 18), forever. The tone is despairing because, Orpheus will never see his wife again, and he longs for her. Despair means to lose all hope and Orpheus really did lose all hope. He knew he would never see his wife again. The tone is kind of an oxymoron, despair and hope both mean opposite things. This poem really does have both despair and hope, it starts with a large amount of hope that starts to gradually dwindle to nothing when Orpheus realizes what he has done by looking one last glance at his now lost spouse.
DICTION: The words, perilous, oblivion, despair, and skiff, all are words that describe and help develop the tone very well. They all make it sound like Orpheus is struggling and is longing for his wife. It shows how dreary the underworld really is and it gives a feeling of what it feels like down there.
The words forgiveness, pure, whole, swept, love, show that moment of happiness and hope for a happy ending. It is that part in the poem that really shows that Orpheus is really in love with Eurydice, and is so happy for this second chance. But then it goes back to despair and loss of hope when Orpheus looks back at her and she is stuck in the underworld forever.
IMAGRY: The imagery in this poem is really good and really helps the audience to see what Orpheus is feeling. In the phrase “Coasting the perilous isles of sleep,/Zones of oblivion and despair, /Stopped, for Eurydice was there”(Muir 2-4), it shows that Orpheus is desperately looking for Eurydice in the underworld, searching through all of those souls asleep in agony. And when he finally finds her he stops because he does not want to lose her.