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She Walks in Beauty Essay

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Sample Essay on She Walks in Beauty

The paper is a detailed analysis of the poem “She walks in beauty” by Lord Byron. The poem was written in 1814, at a time when Lord Byron was an influential writer. It has been said to be among Byron’s most famous pieces. It is a poetic narrative describing the beauty and elegance of a woman who is the subject of the poem. The poem does not disclose who the narrator is but, it is thought that he or she may be the author. This paper is a literary analysis of the poem. It will discuss the representation of the subject (the elegant woman) by the author and the techniques employed in the poem. A conclusion will also be drawn on the poem’s style and impact on the readers. The poem is a representation of the true beauty of a woman.

The poet drew inspiration for the passionate poem from events in his life. Byron came across a cousin by marriage who was a beautiful woman while attending a ball. The woman’s striking beauty and poise struck the poet so much that he penned the poem the following morning. The line that opens the poem was drawn from the mourning dress that the woman was wearing. Other sources indicate that the woman might not have been the poet’s cousin but rather his half sister. The poem, however, does not have any direct reference to the sight of the woman as Byron might have seen her walking that night. This is because the poem is about more than the physical appearance of the woman.

The opening line “She walks in beauty, like the night” arouses the thought of how this woman could be seen or perceived to the reader. The speaker goes ahead to clarify this in the lines that follow by stating that her image would be illuminated by the stars. This technique is known as enjambment and is popularly employed in the opening lines (usually first four lines) by poets. It is used to capture the attention of the reader.

The poet goes on to bring the contrasts of the woman in the second stanza. The contrast of light and dark that had been used in the opening lines reappears. The woman is said to have light skin and dark hair. To emphasize the perfect appearance of the woman, the author states that if she were to be different in any way she would still remain beautiful. According to Byron, her beauty would only be “half impair’d”. This implies that the woman can contain contrasting values but still maintain her striking beauty.

As the poem approaches the end, Byron moves a notch higher to talk about the woman’s inner beauty. He talks of the woman as having good inner thoughts. Her spiritual and intellectual beauties are also praised as the poet leaves no space to question the woman’s perfection. He portrays her as being beautiful both inside and outside and possessing immense inner strength. This attribute adds on to the woman’s general attractiveness. The inner beauty of the woman makes her seem angelic to the reader. The use of contrast in the poem may be said to represent the contrasting aspects of art which come together to form a perfect piece. Each aspect of art has a significant part to play in the end product. All aspects of art are complementary and, they work together to define the end product.

The poem also utilizes the technique of rhyme scheme. The author creates a rhyme pattern through the use of syllables with each line having eight syllables. This makes the poem to be sweet to the ear by giving it a musical sound. Alliteration is also extensively utilized in the poem. For example, line eleven has the words “Serenely sweet …”. This technique is evident in several other lines of the poem. In addition, the poem utilizes several figures of speech. These include similes (for example, where the woman’s movement is compared to that of the sky), metaphor, and personification, among others. The imagery of light and darkness discussed earlier in the paper is yet another notable poetic tool widely used in the poem.

The author describes the beauty of the woman as being modest and comparable to the light given by a candle. This makes the woman seem more realistic than if her beauty had been overstated. It gives a human face to the woman and makes her authentic. Reference to darkness also serves the purpose of making readers able to relate to her. The author creates the possibility of flaws in order to emphasize the contrast further.

The poem by Byron is undoubtedly a classic. It is written in a straight forward yet effective style with which readers can relate. The poet utilizes a variety of writing techniques effectively despite the short length of the poem. The poem stirs up questions, such as, what true beauty is and, the role of inner beauty in determining the appearance of a woman. Readers may also debate whether Byron was appreciating the woman’s beauty or declaring his admiration for her. The poem talks about the quality of beauty in a powerful way that is unlike the narrow minded approach taken by many love poems. It is not limited by direct description to the popular definition of beauty as being determined by a woman’s physical attributes.

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