Blow, blow thou winter winds

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Transcript of Blow, blow thou winter winds

Spring, the Sweet Spring

Blow, blow, thou winter windThink about all the people in your life which ones could make you the most upset and why?

Blow, blow, thou winter wind Blow, blow, thou winter wind,Thou art not so unkindAs a mans ingratitude;Thy tooth is not so keen,Because thou art not seen,Although thy breath be rude.Heigh-ho, sing heigh-ho, unto the green holly;Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.Then heigh-ho, the holly,This life is most jolly! Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,That dost not bite so nighAs benefits forgot:Though thou the waters warp,Thy sting is not so sharpAs friend remembered not.Heigh-ho, sing heigh-ho, unto the green holly;Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.Then heigh-ho, the holly,This life is most jolly! William Shakespeare (1564-1616)Context

Shakespeare(1564-1616)So, this is another poem taken from a play and it may help your understanding to have a brief synopsis ofAs You Like It.Duke Frederick has pushed his older brother, Duke Senior, aside to take charge of their home land; however, both their daughters (Celia daughter of Frederick; Rosalind daughter of Senior) continue to live at court with Frederick as they are close friends. The girls quickly manage to get themselves banished and head to the woods to be with Duke Senior. Orlando, a noble from the court, has fallen in love with Rosalind, but is forced to flee by his brothers, Olivers, taunting.Clearly (this is Shakespeare after all) the girls end up cross dressing and examining first Orlando and then Oliver who eventually become their suitors. Eventually they all get married and live happily after and even the nasty usurper, Frederick, has a change of heart and restores Duke Senior to his rightful place.One of the key themes of the play is injustice done to individuals by their family Duke Senior is betrayed by his younger brother and Orlando is bullied by his older brother. In the play it all ends well, but the song/poem reflects this theme of the harm and misery those closest to us can inflict.Blow, blow, thou winter wind

Repetition suggests frustration the equivalent of get on with it. Blow, blow, thou winter wind,Thou art not so unkindAs a mans ingratitude;Thy tooth is not so keen,Because thou art not seen,Although thy breath be rude.Ingratitude is an interesting choice of adjective. It suggests that this person who betrayed him should have really been thankful toward our poetic voice.Harsh natural imagery that wouldve been familiar to everyone used to highlight exactly how hurt he has been by being betrayed by a friend. Read not so unkind as saying the wind is not as bad as... (simile)Winter wind alliterative use of harsh/stressed consonance biting and bitter weather. Referring to the frosty bite of winter wind. Keen in this context means sharp. However, this bite is still described as being intolerable. Therefore, he is more hurt by the man as he visible as he hurts our poetic voice.The poem addresses the wind, personifying it in order to make the comparison between it and humans completely clear.Now if youve ever lived in a country with proper winters (i.e. not Uganda) youll know that the wind can be extremely bitter and bitingly cold, but this poem immediately claims that this is nothing next to the attitude of men. Ingratitude suggests that the speaker has been treated unfairly by someone who should owe him thanks, if you link this to the context there are obvious comparisons within the play. The tooth not being as keen means that it is not as sharp, so it doesnt inflict as much pain as that caused by betrayal from a friend. However, the reason the wind is not seen as hurtful or cruel is because it is not seen, which suggests that the speaker feels that whoever has betrayed or let him down is still present in his life and is lauding his actions over our speaker.Heigh-ho is meant as a way of saying oh well, lets get on with it. It is as if the poetic voice is moving on despite the pain he has been caused. Heigh-ho, sing heigh-ho, unto the green holly;Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.Then heigh-ho, the holly,This life is most jolly!Context: Duke Senior has been usurped by Duke Frederick and goes to set up camp in the woods.Is it? Poetic voice doesnt seem convinced in the rest of the poem and even in this chorus. Pretending to get over the pain, but really stuck on it.Contradicts attitude of heigh-ho by showing deeply cynical attitude towards relationships friendship is feigning = is built on lies; loving mere folly = madness/stupidity.The second half of the stanza is meant to show that the speaker is not bitter about what has happened as he is basically saying Oh well, lets get on with it and not linger on our anger. Heigh-ho might be something the seven dwarves would say, but here it means Oh well and a reference to the fact he is having to overcome a challenge or problem, but is facing it positively it can mean boredom or fatigue, which would mean he is tired of dwelling on what has happened. The fact it is repeated three time in the chorus could mean that the speaker is trying to convince himself to be optimistic and to get on with things, but is finding it hard to just move on without resentment.

However, you have to question whether that is the case based on the opening of the stanza. He also dismisses friendship as feigning (lie) and love as folly (stupidity), which suggests that he feels let down by those closest to him and recognises that his previous emotions or feelings towards whoever is the focus of this poem have evaporated. The reference to green holly links us directly to Duke Seniors plight as he has to retreat to the woods to hold his court.

Repetition suggests frustration the equivalent of get on with it. Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,That dost not bite so nighAs benefits forgot:Though thou the waters warp,Thy sting is not so sharpAs friend remembered not..Freezing weather warps water into ice. Notice again the harsh consonance. Simile to show this is not as painful or unexpected (connotations of sting and sharp) as...Another simile this time the bitter sky of winter is not as bad as benefits forgot. I take this to mean privileges that the poetic voice bestowed upon the subject of the poem. So, favours not returned.Again, use of harsh/stressed consonance bitter and bite reflects poetic voices anger. Harsh weather conditions again used to elevate the pain inflicted by being betrayed or unfairly treated by someone you have treated as a friend.The second stanza follows the same pattern as the first; we move from the winter wind to its frost and ice, which again is bitingly cold and something to avoid with the aid of a snug jacket at all times. However, it is nothing in comparison to a friend remembered not by someone who has forgotten all youve done for him (benefits forgot). Then we return to the chorus once more, flying in the face of whats been said in the first half of the stanza.Language and techniques

Okay, so Ive briefly alluded to pathetic fallacy in the overview, but lets explore that in a bit more detail. Human relationships are being referred to here in comparison with the natural harshness and bitterness of the winter. The freezing cold, the bite of the wind and nip of the ice and frost are amongst natures most deadly or uncomfortable conditions. Winter is often used as a link to ideas of death or lack of emotions, which is appropriate for the focus of this poem.This poem takes for granted that we understand the vicious nature of this season and uses these most terrible conditions to provide a suitable comparison for the pain he feels has been inflicted upon him by a close friend. We know the weather is unkind, has bite and there is a sharp sting to winter conditions, but in the poem these are only mentioned comparatively with the winter coming out kinder than man.I also mentioned personification earlier; this poem addresses the conditions with thou and it is almost as if the speaker is seeking comfort in this conversation as he is able to express his dissatisfaction. In the first stanza there is a focus on the mouth of the wind as it talks about its tooth is not so keen and breath be rude. This is a familiar piece of personification as people often talk about the biting cold, but the focus could indicate that the person who has betrayed him has done so with his words.Another thing I might mention is the multi-sensory imagery in the poem: we see the sharp teeth of the offender, but also smell his rude breath; we also feel the bite and the sharp sting that our speaker has felt through being let down by his friend. This is significant because it shows us that the pain inflicted by the inconstancy of love is all encompassing.Finally, lets deal with the chorus. You can read the chorus in two ways: one, as an optimistic approach to hardship where our speaker is moving on from it; or alternatively it is bitterly satirical and sarcastic and actually he has no intention of being jolly. Both interpretations make sense as in the play Duke Senior actually seems to make the most of being usurped and doesnt linger in misery or bitterness, but in the poem/song we have a complete contrast in what is being said in the verse and the chorus at first bitter and resentful and then completely fine with whatever has happened.The positivity of the language, the punctuation and the expression heigh-ho contrasts dramatically with the implication of the words feigning and folly to describe friendship and love. These words suggests he feels like he has been an idiot or a fool to trust whoever this poem is address to. These words again suggest a bitterness to me that is at odds with the way the chorus is structured. The last line could be seen as being oxymoronic in relation to what we have learnt in the rest of the poem: how on e