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    The Highwayman Poem Analysis Essay

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    Alfred Noyes creates tension in his poem, The Highwayman, as does Thomas Hardy in A Trampwoman’s Tragedy. The immediate reaction to both poems is dancer which brings tension and suspense to the texts. This immediate reaction is created from the titles. The Higwayman brings a sense of criminal association, which raises questions over what is going to happen in the poem. Here suspense is created which quickly engages the reader. Thomas Hardy’s poem has the same effect, A Trampwoman’s Tragedy. ‘Tragedy’ creates expectations of possibly the downfall of the protagonist through death. This creates dancer, which brings tension and suspense.

    The progression of both poems is important in creating suspense and tension as it also creates expectations making the poem exciting using romantic language, such as ‘purple moor’ and ‘ribbon of moonlight’. Purple being a very deep, rich colour introduces us to the highwayman as he comes ‘riding-riding-riding-riding.’ The repetition of riding gives a sense of movement as if coming up to something, but what? This creates suspense.

    The dramatic pauses between words also add a sense of mystery as if it’s getting closer and closer, building up tension. We continue to see words such as ‘twinkle’, ‘jewelled sky’, ‘red love-knot’ and ‘claret velvet’ all building up hope of something romantic and beautiful/ But we are soon introduced to Tim, the contrast of the previous colours, to ‘white and peaked’ and words such as madness all raise fear and danger as something clearly is not right, again creating tension and suspense. Also, ‘riding-riding’ now becomes ‘marching-marching’. Marching has a more forceful tone to it and not as soft as ‘riding’. This creates suspense as something different is coming and the word marching means it’s not good. We are then introduced to more painful language, ‘sweat’, ‘blood’, ‘stretched’, and ‘strained’. Then colour seems to have no specific place anymore, ‘grey’, ‘blood-red’, ‘white-road’.

    They all seem to be jumbled together. This progression creates contrasts and raises even more tension and suspense. Similarly Hardy uses progression in A Trampwoman’s Tragedy. Language begins happy, ‘livelong day’, ‘beat afoot’, and ‘travelled’, there is also detail of places, ‘sedge-moor’. The encouraging language gives a sense of meaning and purpose. But the tension arises when this is later contrasted with ‘dark distress’, ‘death-day’, ‘weak’, places become anonymous, ‘The taverns’. The contrast creates the effect of loneliness and events getting worse, this creates tension as things start to go wrong. The poem then ends with a sense of depression, ‘haunting’, ‘ghost’ and ‘gloomy’. Here progression is also important achieving suspense and we build expectations and want to know the outcome.

    Hardy also uses repetition, ‘alone,alone,alone!’, this emphasises the trampwoman’s tragedies of her lovers. Reminding us of the tension beforehand of her teasing that went too far. Nature is reflected in both poems with the use of pathetic fallacy. Hardy uses words such as ‘sun-blaze’, ‘fields’ and humpikes to create a sense of movement as if getting closer to something, creating suspense. Noyes uses the ‘seas’ and ‘waves’ to show fate, that they have little control over what they do. In the context of the poem this creates tension as we realise that the highwayman and the ‘daughter’ may never get together. In conclusion both poets create tension and suspense successfully through language and progression of the poems.

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    The Highwayman Poem Analysis Essay. (2017, Dec 27). Retrieved from

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