Friday, March 14, 2008

Close Reading: “In This Strange Labyrinth” by Lady Mary Wroth

"In This Strange Labyrinth" by Mary Wroth

"In this strange labyrinth how shall I turn?
Ways are on all sides while way I miss;
If to the right hand, there in love I burn;
Let me go forward, therein danger is;
If to the left, suspicion hinders bliss;
Let me turn back: shame cries I ought return
Nor faint though crosses with my fortune kiss." (Wroth, lines 1-7)

This passage means life and all of the uncertainties that come along with it. One never knows where life may end up; one minute it could be perfect, certain, terrible, or unknown. It is about the choices one must make and the consequences of those choices. This poem is written as a persona along with being a lyrical sonnet. The author uses the labyrinth as a metaphor for life. The author use of the stanza format aids in breaking apart the differences throughout the poem. In the first stanza, and the first half of the second stanza, the author groups the feelings of life together (represented by right-love, forward-danger, left-suspicion, back-shame). This represents how life comes as it is; that one must accept the good along with the bad, and the connotations one associates with everyday right, left, forward, and backward. She does not get into dealing with life until the later stanzas. The author also uses an every other line rhyme scheme. I feel this helps ties the poem together by helping it represent life. Life needs to be connect to other aspects, such as feelings or activities, and this rhyme scheme demonstrates that by linking every other line.

*Wroth, Mary. “In This Strange Labyrinth”. The Norton Introduction to Poetry. J. Paul Hunter, Alison Booth, and Kelly J. Mays. 9th edition. New York: Norton, 2007. 263.

1 comment:

Feras said...

I agree with your interpertation, however i believe the poem itself is a labrynth, in which it confuses the reader, gives many choices and no straight forward solution. good job