With "The Visionary Hope," Samuel Taylor Coleridge romanticizes the overpowering state of yearning without excluding the turmoil it causes in human life. Coleridge develops for the reader an almost picturesque cluster of emotional impulses and handicaps far from abstract, and obscure only in the question of their true source. The reader of "The Visionary Hope" must decide if the individual significance of that vision roots itself in the naive hope of an end, or if, in actuality, the fantasy remains for fantasy's sake. While presenting two sides of an argument concerning the validity of human aspiration, the author finds hope itself to be the one and only necessary lifeblood for the spiritually thirsty soul. At the same time, however, Coleridge's fantastic surrender to the power of a single hope at the close of the poem provides a subtle solicitation of self-examination; the reader must ask discover whether the value of an ungraspable prospect lies in the glimmering possibility of it being met, or merely in its capacity to foster a cleansing outpouring of lustrous emotion and feeling.
At the onset, Coleridge makes clear what will be the outcome of his poetic debate between reason and emotion. Opening...
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