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“From Spectator Ab Extra” by Arthur Hugh Clough Essay Sample

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“From Spectator Ab Extra” by Arthur Hugh Clough Essay Sample

Through out the poem the reader realises how the character is. Just by the first stanza you can tell the persona is proud, pleased by money, wants self-satisfaction and to sound sophisticated. And then, looking back in the poem some new characteristics appear: the constant repetition of “I” and “My” suggests he is self-centred and the repetition of words like: “money”, “pleasures”, “eating and drinking” says he is superficial. Also he tries to show that there is a difference between himself and his social class, and the lower ones by calling the poor classes: “they”, in a derogatory way. Anyway he does not think what he does is right, he says he just “cannot help” it because he feels “it is” “so pleasant” “to have money”.

At the beginning of the second stanza, in the first two lines, there are two very contrasting and therefore shocking phrases. At first he says he sits “at” his “table en grand seigneur” (notice that it is not “a” table but “HIS” table”), here he introduces a French phrase that translated means: “in the manner of a gentleman” trying to be more eloquent. Then he says that “now and then” he throws “a crust to the poor”, this does not sound like giving, it sounds more like an aggressive way of flinging a miserable piece of bread’s crumb that rested. The use of the word: “throw” gives the impression that he did not want to touch them, as if they were animals. It is shocking because the man tries to be sophisticated and well-seen but after that he is more seen like an arrogant and disrespectful person. And then he thinks: “so pleasant it is to have money”.

The third stanza begins with a repetition the second line in the first stanza. Here the lyrical “I” expresses what he thinks “they” think. He says they probably “talk” while they ask for “pelf” (derogatory way of saying money) and that they may think that no one ever has “to think of one’s self”. This sounds like a joking tone, like making fun of their thoughts.

The phrase “pleasant is to have money” is repeated six times in the poem, in the last two lines of every stanza. This is the most powerful state the persona has and believes in his life, which is to own and lots of money and being rich. The constant repetition of this phrase shows that the persona is trying to convince the reader that is true. He also brings together the words “pleasure” and “money”, he tries to say that pleasure can only be possible when you have money, but he does not stop there, he does not only discard all pleasures that can not be bought but says that pleasures go no further than “eating and drinking”. Money is all he has, he is isolated because of this thoughts and personality, and there seems to be no happiness in his words even if he says he has all pleasures.

.The structure is the same for the three stanzas; it has four lines and then the repetition of the phrase we talked about before, total of six lines. For the first four lines of each stanza there is an AABB rhyme scheme.

Even if the poem seems to has a negative moral, because it tries to put in our heads that money is all that matter, there is a positive point about it, it makes people ask themselves if they are like this man, if they have the same attitudes, in order to change our minds and not being so arrogant as he is.

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