Poetry

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Inside the Destruction of Semnacherib, Byron uses several types of imagery to illustrate contradictory feelings about victory in war. In this poem, the entire demolition in the Assyrian people is explained in equally a horrific and calm way, demonstrating how accomplishment in conflict is always reflectivity of the gold with the atrocities of death on the other side. Simply by striking the visual, oral, and tactile senses with images of both damage and peacefulness, Byron catches the conflicting feelings of devastation in the destruction from the defeated area and contrasts it with all the joy of triumph over the enemy. The interweaving of peaceful and devastating images in this poem conveys the bittersweet feeling of rejoicing in victory although experiencing the scary of loss of life on the other side.

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Visual symbolism in this composition shows the atrocity of death in war but also uses simile as a reminder that after the war there is a bright long term to look forward to. The haunting image of fatality is communicated through “the rider unbalanced and pale/ With the dew on his brow, and the corrosion on his mail” (17-18). The image of a mangled and dull body on the floor shocks the visual feeling and leaves one having a traumatic image of death, even if it is the enemy’s body. The detail from the dew within the rider’s brow conveys a strange stillness that feels inappropriate. However , this image is usually contrasted with a peaceful image of the enemy “melt[ing] just like snow inside the glance in the Lord” (24). Melting snow is a progressive process and a relaxing image, an indication that even though they are all useless, there is now tranquility. Snow burning is also an indicator which the winter is now over and spring, a time of renewal and fruitfulness, is usually on the horizon. The parallel of spring towards the end of war offers one desire that also after this devastation and mass death, a fresh and better time lies ahead. The clashing visible imagery of melting snow and a mangled dead body exemplifies emotions of peacefulness at the destruction of the opponent tainted with traumatic images of deceased bodies. This kind of contrast can be confusing and evokes an unusual mix of emotions about victory in battle.

Auditory imagery from this poem increases the mixed feelings, creating powerful sounds of terror and contrasting that with peaceful silence showing happiness mingled with pain. Because all the men of the Assyrian nation will be killed, “the widows of Ashur happen to be loud inside their wail, ” and their screams pierce the auditory sensory faculties with apprehension (21). The immense lack of these women and their mournful cries is known as a tragic auditory image that serves as a reminder that even though they are the enemy, they, as well, have groups of their own whom are still left broken. This kind of tragedy mirrors feelings of maximum pity pertaining to the other side. Much like with image imagery, there may be auditory symbolism representative of peace amidst the destruction because “the trumphet [is] unblown, ” symbols of that there is simply no call to battle (20). The effect of bringing up the unblown trumpet emphasizes the a shortage of war also the presence of tranquility. The clashing imagery with the wailing widows with the peaceful silence in the battlefield decorative mirrors the bittersweetness of win in battle.

The contradictory aesthetic and auditory imagery produce an apprehensive feeling about victory in warfare, which is become more intense with responsive imagery that demonstrates the chilling a sense of death although simultaneously portrays a quick passing. The body of a dead horse lying on a lawn is “cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf” (16). The feeling of cool ocean apply water runs chills straight down one’s body and evokes the chilling feeling of death. This can be the harsh part about the victory of war: the enemy is left chilly and useless, tainting the success of the victor. Then, you will find the gentle picture of the Angel of Loss of life “breath[ing] when confronted with the enemy, ” which in turn serves as a reminder that now there may be peace (10). The peaceful touch in the Angel’s inhale brings after a calm sense amidst the devastation in the people, enabling the victor to rejoice in the tranquility that the loss of life of the adversary brings. An immediate contrast to this tranquil breathing, are the breathless men whose “hearts nevertheless once heaved, forever [growing] still” (12). The inhale of the Angel of Fatality takes away the breath of the Assyrian. This kind of contrast flawlessly reflects the challenge with triumph in warfare because the accomplishment is costly. The tactile imagery Byron uses shows a difficult issue that is hard to overcome. While you are grateful to get the peace and accomplishment over the enemy, one is also surrounded by damage. The interweaving of the images emphasizes this conflict.

The visual, auditory, and tactile symbolism in this composition severely battle, this composition is a roller coaster of devastation and peacefulness. From one perspective, there are the visuals of mangled bodies, horrifying meows of mournful women, plus the bitter feeling of a cold dull body. These kinds of images represent the tremendous grief of warfare as there should be death and devastation for one side to achieve success. From the various other perspective, this kind of devastation is essential to achieve peace and avoid even more death. The imagery this is descriptive of tranquility, like the melting snow, the quiet, and the Angel breathing. This juxtaposition shows the sophisticated issue with conflict as being sometimes necessary for peace while triggering horrifying deaths on an immeasurable scale. Byron’s intertwining with the awfulness and the peacefulness through imagery shows an interesting problem: if success over the enemy involves a whole lot terror and destruction, is then truly considered a victory?

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