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Victorian Era Essay

1107 words - 5 pages

The Victorian Era’s attitude and ways of thinking are seen to be reflected of a study of their texts and fictional characters, allowing responders to gain a greater insight in the 19th century context. The religious, economical and philosophical paradigms are utilised to aid in the exploration of the context. In Browning’s poetry, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem The Beggar Maid and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, contextual values such as censorship, class structure and patriarchal values are identified and explored. This allows responders to develop a greater appreciation of the previous social and literary context of the 19th century ways of thinking.
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The connotations of sexual materials are conveyed in Browning’s poem, ‘Meeting at Night’. The imagery, “as I gained the cover with pushing prow” connotes sexual intercourse and the alliteration of the ‘p’ further adds to the creation of a heated and intense atmosphere. Hence, Browning ‘absents’ sexuality but retains his intended sexual message. The central nature of Christian values is also implicit in Jane Eyre throughout the story, reflecting the prominence of Christianity during its Victorian compositional context. However for Jane, religion helps control immoderate passions to stimulate on ones efforts and achievements. Jane’s world revolves around religion and it foreshadows her life exemplified in “Conventionality is not morality. Self righteousness is not religion”. The use of forthright tone and direct sentences highlights the possession of one’s rectitude is not a sign of devotion to God. As such, Jane Eyre conflicts in order to uphold the Victorian ideals and conform to the social conventions of the time by concealing transcendental endeavours.
The economical paradigm of the Victorian Era reveals the relevance of the Industrial Revolution and its consequences for attitudes regarding class structure. The Industrial Revolution brought many conflict between the rich and poor class due to strikes and disagreements in low wages and poor working conditions. As such, relationships between different classes were perceived as immoral and did not often exist covertly. ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ portrays how interclass relationships were socially unacceptable through its depiction of the subsequent murder of an upper class woman with a lower class man. It is known that she is of higher class evident in the emotive imagery, “struggling passion free from pride” symbolises her aristocratic ties. This demonstrates her upper class status causing a concern in the relationship. However, when the man murders the lady, “God has not said a word”. This allusion to God, seen to be the creator of morals, indicates that it was the right and accepted action to do; end this interclass relationship. Thus it is explicitly conveyed that the class structure was rigid in Victorian society and interclass relationships were regarded morally wrong.
The fairytale archetype of “rag to riches” is established in ‘The Beggar Maid’ to further enhance the understanding of the economic paradigm of different social classes. The poem involves...

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