Poets have always created an enticing central concern within each of their poems. Its purpose is to provide the reader with the poet’s attitude towards an existing conflict. Nevertheless, poets face the challenge of effectively portraying the conflict in order to develop and emphasize the ambience of the central concern. Furthermore, in order to understand the attitude of two different poets who face similar conflicts, the methods of developing the central concern are to be investigated.
For instance, Sylvia Plath and Christina Rossetti face comparable conflicts in their poems but their attitude towards the conflict are dissimilar. Thus, their different attitudes are revealed by comparing and contrasting the means by which Sylvia Plath develops her central concern in “The Collosus” to Christina Rossetti’s methods in her twelfth sonnet from “A Sonnet of Sonnets”. In brief, the means involved in developing the central concern of a poem reveal the conflict and its ambience, the concern and the poet’s true attitude towards the conflict.
Sylvia Plath and Christina Rossetti both deal with conflicts involving a man. In “The Colossus”, Plath copes with her emotions and blurred, broken images after her father’s death. In Rossetti’s twelfth sonnet, she deals with the fact that an insurmountable obstacle is directing her true love for another man towards a different path of love. The obstacle being the realization of her love for God gives her no choice but to painfully neglect the years of true love with her lover. In both cases, they are victims dealing with conflicts of overpowering emotions neither could choose to reject or overcome.
Also, the feeling of these conflicts is enhanced in similar ways. Looking at the poem as a whole, it is clear that Plath has made a metaphor of the broken images of the father to a massive, colossal statue that has been destroyed by lightning. This shows the extent to which Plath valued the image of her father. However, she claims the force of lightning to be weak and simple, in comparison to the force that holds together her deep and solid emotions for her father. She states that “It would take more than a lightning-stroke, to create such a ruin” implying that her emotions are almost unbreakable.
In consequence, the indestructible feelings for a living man that conflict, with the fact that he is now dead, amplifies the sorrow Plath has felt. Similarly exposed in Rossetti’s twelfth sonnet, the power of emotion is portrayed by he dictating “Love, who speaks within my [her] mind. ” The power of the conflict exists in the fact that her true love dictates her, but to whom the love is directed has now changed towards God. By exposing strong feelings that are conflicting with superior conflicts, both poets amplify the ambience of harshness.
Consequently, the poets continue to the intent and state of mind of each character due to these severe conflicts. When one is subject to a trouble, simply accepting it is difficult. Therefore, resolutions and worries, or concern, come along with the consequences of the problem. In Rossetti’s twelfth sonnet, the realization of impossibility of overcoming the emotions for God is clear. And with this, comes her quick acceptance of these new emotions, but simultaneously, comes the concern of compensating her lover’s loss.
As a result, to ensure her own thoughts, her tone is very soft yet commanding. The ambience of her concern reveals a strong feeling of certainty as there is no question that the concern lies in commanding her lover to find new love, rather than questioning whether or not her love may reunite with that man. By commanding him to “Think not that I [she] can grudge it” Plath encourages him that there will be no costs for his actions and that she “commend [s] you [him] to that nobler grace”.
She proves to understand the reality of this problem and makes the most out of it by reasoning that “Since your [his] riches makes me [her] rich, conceive I [she] am [is] too crowned”, implying that if they cannot be together, they shall at least fulfil each others’ love. Everything considered, her attitude towards this conflict exposes a sense of acceptance and reality of this conflict. However, her ensured concern of the man finding a new lover diminishes the overall feeling of threat from the conflict which leads to a feeling of liberation and resolution. In contrast, Plath leaves a definite attitude of hopelessness towards the conflict.
From the first stanza, her central concern of whether or not she can “revive” the father through piecing together the broken images is clear. Unfortunately, it is also obvious that she has a strong stance in finding only failure in any attempt. Believing “I [she] shall never get you [him] put together entirely,” makes it difficult for any change during the development of the concern. Therefore, the tone of complete doom, isolation and hopelessness gives no sense of resolution. Hence, as Plath brings the reader through the despair of this conflict and stripping all hope from the poem, she shows her and certainty of failure.
Moreover, giving up her efforts in piecing together the broken images sets closure in continuing her life with emotions of guilt, despair and failure. Clearly, the similar feeling of certainty to the answer of the central concern protrudes in each poem. Also, the similar conflicts and their ambience of severity relate to one another. However, the difference which is vital to distinguishing one poet’s mind from another’s is in what way the belief of certainty lies; revealing the poet’s attitude towards the conflict.
Plath’s certainty lies in failure which results in no resolution whatsoever, whereas Rossetti concludes her poem with certainty of success, resolution and rejoice. Ultimately, this vital dissimilarity of the poems is one aspect of the poet which is exposed through the comparison of the methods of developing the poet’s central concern.