Tintern Abbey: Short Questions & Answers

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Q. 1. Tintern Abbey is the “consecrated formulary of Wordsworthian faith”. Elucidate.
What aspects of Wordsworth’s philosophy of Nature are revealed in Tintern Abbey?
What do you learn about Wordsworth’s attitude towards Nature and man from Tintern Abbey?

      Ans. (i) Myers has rightly described Tintern Abbey as “the consecrated formulary of Wordsworthian faith”. The poem formulates in a grand and graphic language, the main tenets of Wordsworth’s nature-creed.

      (ii) The poem expresses Wordsworth’s firm belief in Nature’s power to console man in moments of depression and weariness.

      (iii) The poem expresses the poet’s conviction beauty ennobles the observer’s licart.

      (iv) Nature can induce in man an awareness which pierces through the mystery of the universe and reveals spiritual truth. In other words, Nature can induce a mystic mood in man.

      (v) The chief faith of Wordsworth, namely, his pantheism, is lyrically expressed in this poem. Nature’s visible beauty is a symbol of a divine and all-pervading spirit which harmonizes the manifold discord of the elements. Man, if he allows himself to live close to nature, can experience the spiritual truth.

      (vi) Tintern Abbey is an epitome of all that is really important in Wordsworth’s philosophy of Nature and man. It presents his idea of the relationship between Nature and man.

Q. 2. Consider Wordsworth as a poet of Nature with special reference to Tintern Abbey.
No poem expresses so clearly and so powerfully what Nature meant to Wordsworth as the poem Tintern Abbey. Discuss.

      Ans. (i) Tintern Abbey sums up, in a nutshell, the essentials of Wordsworth’s attitude to Nature.

      (ii) The calm, secluded aspects of Nature stir Wordsworth’s feeling and imagination.

      (iii) The recollection of natural scenes had a power to console the depressed mind and heal worried humanity.

      (iv) The restorative and healing power of Nature was experienced most intensely by Wordsworth in his personal life.

      (v) Nature never betrays the heart that loves her—this was Wordsworth’s firm belief.

      (vi) Nature has spiritual significance, too. Thus it can exert powerful influence over man’s moral being inspiring him to more and more “acts of kindness and of love”.

      (vii) Nature, Wordsworth feels, is the nurse, the guide, the guardian of her heart, and soul of all his moral being.

Q. 3. Trace the different stages in the growth of Wordsworth’s attitude to Nature in Tintern Abbey.

      Ans. (i) Wordsworth clearly traces the development of his attitude to Nature in there stages as expressed in Tintern Abbey.

      (ii) As a boy his love for Nature was an “animalistic” pure, healthy gladness for open spaces.

      (iii) In his youth his love of Nature was characterized by “dazzy raptures” and aching joys which replaced the earlier “coarser pleasures”. The love for Nature at this stage is purely sensuous, though deep and absorbing.

      (iv) In his maturity Nature invoked in him the consciousness of the “still, sad music of humanity.” He has developed a philosophic mind which reads significance into the beauties of Nature.

      (v) He has now become aware of the spiritual meaning of nature. He has been led to experience that serene and blessed mood when he has overcome the flesh to become a ‘living soul.” He now “sees into the very life of things”, and feels the sublime Presence in all things—in Nature as well as in man’s mind. Thus Nature exalts his mind.

      (vi) Wordsworth realizes Nature’s divinity and interprets it to others.

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