How Figurative Language Effects Tone in “On First Looking Into Chessman’s Homer” As seen by simply reading the poem, one cannot come from it without having a feeling of awe and inspiration, along with a new desire to read Chessman’s translation of Homer. The poem is rich with emotion-invoking language and filled to the brim with excitement. The poet, John Keats, uses figurative language such as metaphor and simile to create a tone of wonder, fulfillment, and ecstasy in his poem “On First Looking Into Chessman’s Homer.
The poem contains figurative and symbolist expressions such as seen in the first line in “realms of gold” The realms of gold represent both the realms of the Greeks literally, and their cultural and literary realms, the gold exemplifying the richness. The second symbolic expression is how Homer is described as deep-browed and a ruler of a “demesne” (land attached to a manor), both ideas expressing how the poet respects Homer indefinitely.
And yet, in the next line, he states meet did I never never breathe its pure serene,” meaning that although Homer was incredible and he had respect for him, until he read Chessman’s orientation, he never truly realized what an incredible work Homer had created. The most prominent device used is metaphor. In “Much have I traveled in the realms of gold” to “That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne,” the poet describes his past experience as a literal Journey but it obviously is lacking in the taste of wonder that is described later.
This metaphorical usage of comparing reading to Journeying, albeit a common one, is quite useful in Adair 2 preparing the reader for the descriptions later on. In the line meet did I never never breathe its pure serene,” The “pure serene” provides imagery of a beautiful, expansive, calm sky and compares that to Keats reading of Homer. Another metaphor used is how Keats compares the actual writings of Chapman in line 8 as if he is actually literally hearing the words. This dramatists the experience and makes it appear new and beautiful.
Along the subject of metaphors, a more specific sort of metaphor, the simile, is used in the final 6 lines of the poem. The first simile (“Then I felt like… Swims into his ken”) is a comparison of the poet’s emotions to those of an astrologist who had discovered a new planet. This simile takes the building leaning created by the metaphors in the earlier lines and intensifies it. The reader experiences the same wonder and astonishment at this new revelation as Keats was experiencing himself.
The second simile compares his Joy to that of the explorer Cortez upon reaching the Pacific Ocean. The poet’s use of metaphors, similes, and symbolism creates a strong feeling of wonder and amazement. Overall though, the main feeling one gets from a reading of this poem is an intense desire to read Chessman’s Homer, and that is the main purpose. How Figurative Language Affects Tone in “Upon First Looking Into Chessman’s Homer” By dramatically
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