Baudelaire's Poetry: Sight, Silence, And Sound

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Patrick Mc Gartoll French R1B 18 September 2014 Sight, Silence, and Sound Silence is an interesting sound. Typically big events or big changes are emphasized by loud noises and lots of sound. The demolition of a large building, a crowd cheering, or an earthquake are just a few examples. As humans, when we hear a loud noise, we instinctively look towards the source of the sound. Sound clamors for our attention and it is almost always a good idea to heed its word. Sounds warn us and give us information on what we cannot see. So what about silence? Can silence also command our attention? To Charles Baudelaire, the lack of sound is more beautiful, more interesting, and more important than sound. In his poetry he uses silence to emphasize the importance…show more content…
The original version of the poem written by Baudelaire has eight syllables for every line and four lines for every stanza. There is no variation. In terms of poetry this is as close to silence as a poem can get. There is no variation in the structure of the poem during the poet’s dream, there is a constant amount of sound for every line. Sound is something disruptive, something that grabs your attention, the poem’s structure does not lend itself to that. There is a break in the poem right before the poet wakes up however, and its purpose is to startle the reader with something unexpected, much like the content of the last two stanzas. The last two stanzas are much different than the rest in the poem. Although they follow the structure of eight syllables per line and four lines per stanza, they share nothing else. At the end of the poem the poet is thrown back into reality when, “Brutally the twelve strokes of noon Against my naked ear were hurled” (57-58). Finally Baudelaire writes sound into the poem, and it is not pretty. The bells striking noon destroy the poet’s dream and violently snap him back into sad reality. Sound has destroyed his beautiful

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