Critical Analysis of “Blow, Blow, thou Winter Wind” by William Shakespeare

“Blow, Blow, thou Winter Wind” by William Shakespeare
Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As a man’s ingratitude; (ungrateful)
Thy tooth is not so keen, (dedicated)
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho, sing heigh-ho, unto the green holly;
Most friendship is feigning (inventing), most loving mere folly.
Then heigh-ho, the holly,
This life is most jolly!
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh (near in place, time, or relationship)
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp, (misguide)
Thy sting (smart) is not so sharp
As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho, sing heigh-ho, unto (towords) the green holly;
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly (stupidity, foolishness)
Then heigh-ho, the holly,
This life is most jolly!

William Shakespeare, often called the English national poet, is widely considered as the greatest dramatist of all time. He was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, 1564. From this, it is believed he was born on or near April 23, 1564,

Writing Style

William Shakespeare’s early plays were written in the conventional style of the day, with elaborate metaphors and rhetorical phrases that didn’t always align naturally with the story’s plot or characters. However, Shakespeare was very innovative, adapting the traditional style to his

own purposes and creating a freer flow of words. With only small degrees of variation, Shakespeare primarily used a metrical pattern consisting of lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter, or blank verse, to compose his plays. At the same time, there are passages in all the plays that deviate from this and use forms of poetry or simple prose.                           His works express the complete range of human experience.                           

His Creations: He has created thirty seven plays, one hundred and fifty four sonnets, three narrative poems, sixteen comedies, seven tragedies and fourteen historical plays.                                                                       

Background: “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind” is a poem from the Shakespeare play As You Like It. This poem is an example of a type of figurative language called personification. When writers personify, they give human characteristics to their subject. The poem entitled ‘Blow! Blow! Thou Winter Wind’ is a song sung by the character named Amiens in the drama written by William Shakespeare. Amiens is one of the lords who have by their own choice come with Duke Senior, who had been banished by his brother. Amiens sings this song commenting upon the ways of the world, and human ingratitude which is more biting than the piercing cold winter wind.

The poet in the very beginning addresses the winter wind and says that it can blow as much hard as it likes because it is not so harsh and rude like man’s nature of being ungrateful. The attack of the winter wind is not so sharp because it is not visible although it is bitingly cold. The poet asks the frosty sky to freeze because it won’t cause him deep pain as caused by his friends who forget his favors instead of being thankful. The poet says that although the waters are frozen they don’t cause sharp pain like one caused by his friend, who doesn’t even bother to remember him. Thus, the frozen faces of the world are more painful than the frozen waters. We should always be singing throughout the year like ‘holly’ (an evergreen plant). The poet here says that the friendship is only a presence and loving is nothing but absurdity and foolery. He again tells that life is very wonderful and should be fully enjoyed. It is like a song and should be sung. The poet here projects a harsh reality through his song. The

celebrated poet Shakespeare is known for his wise words. He is his same self here. His statements are weighty, pithy and precisely correct.

If we look carefully at this poem, we will find that it is not actually about the winter wind at all. Shakespeare reveals his true meaning in the middle of the poem with the line “Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.” He is saying that people are not always true to their “friends” or “loved ones,” or that their friendship or love is not real. He uses the idea of a winter wind, which could be painful, to communicate how much more painful the false love and friendship is. So, when he says of the wind, “Thy tooth is not so keen,” he means that the pain caused by the wind (in the case, the wind’s metaphorical “tooth” can cause pain by biting) is not as hurtful as the emotional pain of the untrue friend or lover. The personification is evident in the description of the wind. It is said to have a “tooth” and “breath.” It is also said to be less “unkind” than the untrue friend. These are human attributes rather than aspects of the wind. He uses the wind as a contrast to an aspect of human life; therefore, he needs to personify it.

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