Words can impact and bombard your emotions, feelings, etc. We can easily hurt a person with our words, we can easily induce happiness and joy into a human being. Sometimes words would create a permanent mark in our hearts and minds. It may be sweet as a honey or bitter like a citrus peel. Wow! Words can own and play with you!
The famous quote “The pen is mightier than sword” was written by playwright Edward Lytton in 1839 in his play Cardinal Richelieu. Interpretation of words can be highly effective than direct violence towards a subject.
These are few of the literary works that created an eternal impact on me. High school was a wonderful place for me to dwell with literature and arts. These are the most beautiful literary works which I read as a part of my high school syllabus (quoting only a few of those).
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.
Whenever I hear about this play, the first thing that comes to my mind is “for Brutus is an honorable man“. Antony starts his famous speech with “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears”. Antony uses the power of words to grab the people’s attention and manipulate their emotions. He ceaselessly repeats and reminds the people that Brutus is an honorable man. He cites how noble Caesar was, and reads his will to the people of Rome. This agitates the people and in turn, they are driven against the conspirators. From the start of the play, Caesar gets ceaseless warnings from his wife- Calpurnia and soothsayer. Brutus, his (Caesar) own friend convinces him to attend the ceremony, then stabs him and the famous line comes from dying Caesar “Et tu, Brute?” meaning – you too Brutus? This piece of historical artwork holds Betrayal, love, friendship, revenge, violence and emotions… and emotions.
“If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
‘Twas on a summer’s evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii:
Look, in this place ran Cassius’ dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb’d;
And as he pluck’d his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow’d it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock’d, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!” – Mark Antony (Scene II – The Forum)
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel T Coleridge.
This beauty was published in the year 1798. This poem portrays a mariner who has returned back to his own country after facing a storm in the Pacific. In the start of this lengthy poem, the mariner stops one of the guests who’s on his way to attend a wedding. The power of the mariner’s “glittering” eye is described in the lines,
“He holds him with his glittering eye—The Wedding-Guest stood still,And listens like a three years’ child:The Mariner hath his will.”
This is one lengthy piece of poetry which is split into various parts. The unforgettable parts are the one in which the Albatross is shot dead (with which that part ends). There are numerous citations of Albatross in this poem. Another famous set of lines which are unforgettable is these,
“Water, water, every where,And all the boards did shrink;Water, water, every where,Nor any drop to drink.”
This particular alliterated set of lines expresses the poor condition of the mariner. This poem teaches a lot about life. The “water water” stanza can surely be used to describe some of our real life situations. Disaster, hope, battle for life, self-motivation, the undying confidence… etc., Ha! I can type pages and pages on this poem… Enough about the mariner for now 🙂
The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth.
This magnificent poem is written as the poet crosses through the Scottish highlands. He portrays the Scottish girl as the “Highland Lass”.
“Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.”
The Highland Lass sings a sad song (melancholy) as she reaps the crops. The whole valley is overflowing with the song of the solitary reaper. The poet compares her voice to the voice of a nightingale that welcomes the weary travelers in the Arabian deserts. The language of the song she’s singing is unknown till the end. But, the poet tries to find what the song is about. By the time, we reach this part of the poem, we ourselves start guessing what she may be singing about. Visualizing his words in our minds gives us some vibrant visuals. The poet ends his poem by expressing her song’s impact on him…
“I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.“
Ode to the West Wind by P.B.Shelley.
P.B.Shelley beautifully plays with the words in this poem. The end of each line forms a rhyme. For example, in the first 6 lines of this poem, we’ll be able to note the rhyming words… being-fleeing, dead-red-bed. The poet refers the West Wind as a magician, transformer and a carrier of dead leaves which holds the dead seeds (positivity). The dead leaves are corpses whereas they do the function of carrying the seeds with them as they are carried away by the wind. These are few lines…
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave”
The West Wind is hailed as a creator and a destructor. I guess, each line of this poem can be analyzed for the remarkable style of English used in it (Wish I took literature). The ending lines of this poem carry a lovely message…
“The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”
It means that whenever death comes at the end, something beautiful is reborn again…
Spring is not far behind 🙂 and so do winter 😉
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Ebenezer Scrooge and his “Bah! Humbug!”…
This is a play by Charles Dickens which teaches a lot of lessons and morals on how to act as a kind-hearted human being. Scrooge is an angry man who doesn’t show any interest and gets irritated to the core whenever someone approaches him. He is indeed a wealthy businessman. He refuses to pay his clerk Bob Cratchit who has a crippled son named “Tiny Tim” . When Fred, his nephew comes and invites him for a Christmas party he refuses angrily. When holiday visitors visit him, he shouts at them angrily. Within these three incidents, the character of Scrooge is neatly depicted and readers indeed get irritated on the way he behaves. Later that evening, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts. One after the other, the ghosts feed him with morals and threaten him with the consequences faced if he fails. Scrooge changes into a completely new human being. All through his life he follows the morals and remains a kind-hearted person.
This play reminds us that money and wealth are not everything in life. Kindness, calmness and helping the needy brings overwhelmed joy into our lives.
These are very very few literary works that impressed me in my high school days. Believe me, there is a big load to write on! 🙂 Literature never ceases to feed our hearts with peace and joy.