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Literature/She was a phantom of delight by Wordsworth


Hiya! I am currently studying this poem, 'she was a phantom of delight' for my A levels, i needed help in analyzing it, especially its form and structure and what effects do these create. It would be helpful if you give me your verdict on what you think of the female character in the poem (i.e. whether she is conventional or not). also what does the structure and the form tell us out the characters, how does it portray them.

I would greatly appreciate your help.

kind regards,

Hello Hannah,

I haven't much to offer about form and structure, but I can tell you that Wordsworth tends to write poems about very simple and straightforward things. For instance, I think it is in his poem "Expostulation and Reply", he writes about how just the act of sitting in a chair on a porch and doing nothing is still a situation where something happens, because of what goes on in your mind and what happens through your senses, taking in the visual, olfactory and auditory impressions from the surroundings.

"She was a Phantom of Delight" is equally simple: it is about the impressions he gets from seeing a beautiful young woman pass by. Descriptions of the feelings and thoughts that go through him in just that brief moment where he sees an attractive woman, who is then gone the next instant. He feels a longing towards her; he is filled with thoughts of what might potentially happen if he could be with her. He is hoping to be part of the romantic and erotic promise such a woman holds, but also sad to see her vanish quickly, taking all the potential away with her. But mostly, he savors the experience of having seen her, and having felt the effect she had on him. It makes him feel human and alive. Like the other romantic poets, Wordsworth delights in the innocent and natural feelings of being human and being in love as well as in lust; the Romantics acknowledged that people are passionate creatures with a strong longing for each other.

So, in my interpretation, that's basically what this poem is about. It's ultimately very basic, and not complex at all.

Hope this helped,
- Tue Sorensen


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Tue Sorensen


I am an authority on the complete works of Shakespeare, and can answer any questions relating to his plays, poetry and life. I specialize in interpretation, double-meanings and translation into modern language.


I was a top-rated Allexperts expert on this same subject several years ago.

Former member of the Danish Shakespeare Society, as well as an active participant in the scholarly SHAKSPER mailing list.

Three years of studying English literature at the University of Aarhus, Denmark

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