List of words
Duet is a poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson, who was the Laureate poet of Queen Victorian from 1850 until his death. If we go straight ahead to the title of this poem it immediately suggests that the course of the poem will be directed by two voices as lyric speakers who will probably agree on the theme they discuss or describe, because duets are supposed to be something agreeable, therefore the word “Duet” in the title also gives the impression of harmony and musicality. Also if we address the title we can infer that the “duet” is probably talking about love.
After reading the poem you can notice that the there are two different voices that act as the lyric speaker of the poem. These two voices are having a talk about love; while they discuss the provenance of a thing they call “the voice” through the description of the nature that surrounds them.
On the poem the author uses a wide range of selected words to embellish his verses and to give strong images that greatly add to the theme of the poem, like when he uses the word deep. This word refers firstly that love is a deep feeling of us, something that we all carefully hide in our deepest self. In the poem the word “voice” is something that Tennyson uses to represent the messages that our heart (love) tries to send to us and that sometimes we don’t like to hear it or maybe we just do not recognize as the voice of our heart. That is why the author usually combines these two words like in verse 2 and 6 where he says “the voice of the deep” doing a clear reference to what we commonly call the voice of the heart. In addition, it is necessary to highlight that Lord Tennyson uses the nature as the base of the image he is trying to express in his poem, shown in almost every verse of the poem like 2, 4, 6, 10, and others, this is because Tennyson in this poem tries to convey the literature movement of that age, which was Romanticism, a literary movement that combines the life and feelings of man with nature.
Addressing the attitude of the poem I feel that the tone of the poem is of ignorance and in contradiction understanding of love because in the poem the first voice (1) finishes his ideas always with a question mark as it is shown in verses 2, 8, and 12. This voice uses question mark because he represents the ignorance of love. While the other voice (2) answers the questions that voice (1) does, to finally at the end of the poem, unveil the mysteries of love.
Moving on to the shifts of the poem, there is only one in the whole poem, there is not a real change of topic or mood during the whole poem, the shift starts with voice (1) asking what was he hearing to voice (2), verse 1 and 2, then they tried to approach to discover what the “deep voice” (love) is and finally at the end of the poem the voices agree and answer where love comes from and what should be done with it.
Tennyson in his poem successfully describes one of the hottest themes in the narrations of humanity from even before writing existed, which is love. We can see this throughout the whole poem like in verses 11, 13 or 19 when he says deliberately the word love and he uses metaphors and the dialogue between the two voices play with the word love so he can show more easily what he understands of love.
In terms of the structure of the poem, there is only one stanza which has 20 verses. The rhyme pattern that the poem presents are 3 which in order are ABCBDBDB (verses 1 to 8) EFFB(verses 9 to 12) GBDD (verses 13 to 16) , the rest of the verses do not present a rhyme. This means that the poem presents an octave rhyme pattern followed by two quatrain rhyme. Tennyson uses these rhyme schemes to give dynamism the poem, but more importantly what these rhymes give to the poem is musicality which is something that is directly related with the title of the poem, that's why Tennyson uses a lot of rhymes in B.
Alluding to the devices used in the poem, we can recognize metaphor (verses 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15,19, 20) personification (verse 17, 18) parallelism (verses 1 and 5, 9 and 11, 13 and 17), and others that are not as important as these ones in the poem. One metaphor of the poem that's worth to analyses is the following:
“No but the voice of the deep as it hollows the cliffs of the land”
This metaphor expresses the most important thing that Tennyson wants to establish in his poem; that love is powerful. We can assure this from the powerful and beautiful image that the metaphor provides us, which is that love is so powerful that it can hollow a cliff and land, that love is unbeatable and unstoppable.
Also an interesting verse to analyses is the next one
“Nay let him make it his own, let him
reign in it - he, it is he”
This is a clear personification because the poet talks about love at is was a “he”. This literary device is used to show love as an entity that thinks by himself. Tennyson talks about love as something independent in a man, something that is destined to rule man because as it is said in the poem “he, it is he”, which means love makes a man what he is.
“Love that is born of deep coming
Up with the sun from the sea”
In this metaphor we can see what I said previously that love is the deepest feeling of mankind. Tennyson here is clearly appealing to the basis of romanticism by comparing the birth of love with the birth of the sun from the sea; he compares this because the sun seems to rise upon the deepness of the sea as love rises from the deepest feelings of a man.