Mutability
Mutability
by William Wordsworth

Mutability Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Sonnet in Iambic PentameterThe sonnet in iambic pentameter is probably the most familiar form in English poetry. A traditional sonnet has fourteen lines and a rhyme scheme. Pretty much all of the g...

Speaker

The speaker is mostly hidden from us – there is no "me" or "I" mentioned. But he tends to pop out from behind his veil of objectivity with this habit of telling us his emotions. He’s li...

Setting

This guy named dissolution is rising and falling, rising and falling. He goes seamlessly from end of a musical scale to the other, and then back down again, like playing a slide whistle. To the spe...

Sound Check

There’s something very Shakespearean-sounding about "Mutability." Maybe it’s because here Wordsworth is dealing about an abstract concept, as Shakespeare often did in his sonnets, even...

What's Up With the Title?

No, the title is not an advertisement for a feature on a new television set. There were no mute buttons in Romantic England."Mutability" means "the ability to change," but the word does not appear...

Calling Card

RuinsAh, crumbly old buildings: aren’t they so romantic?! That’s much of the charm of the country of Italy, isn’t it? Well, actually, crumbly buildings are Romantic, as in they ar...

Tough-O-Meter

(5) Tree LineThe first couple of lines in this poem are enough to send you spinning off into confusion-land. What is this "low to high," "high to low" business? What, exactly, does Wordsworth mean...

Brain Snacks

The American poet Robert Pinsky spoke about "Mutability" in relation to the economic recession in 2002. Wordsworth and the American stock market: two things we’d never thought to see in the s...

Sex Rating

GIn this stern and proper poem, with its warning to avoid meddling with "crime" and other naughty things, there’s not a trace of steaminess to be found.

Shout Outs

Literary and Philosophical ReferencesEdmund Spenser and the "Mutabilitie Cantos" (title)William Shakespeare’s King Lear (line 12)

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