She Walks in Beauty
The melodious flow of this poem is achieved through humerious uses of alliteration. “Alliteration is the repetition of initial identical consonants” (Clugston, 2010). Examples of this would be “She Walks in Beauty”, include cloudless climes”, “starry skies”, day denies and various others. There is also the creative use of assonance in the first verse. Skies, bright eyes, that contributes to the harmonious flow of words throughout this poem.
Byron uses a great deal of imagery throughout this poem. His imagery creates a vision for us of the woman and the almost aura like description of her inner beauty. In the first stanza he describes her beauty “She Walks In Beauty”. This poem is more of a subjective rather than a narrative poem. This type of poem expresses the poet’s imagination and thoughts (Clugston, 2010, 11. 3). This poem is about an unnamed woman. She’s really quite striking and the speaker compares her to lots of beautiful but dark things, like “night and “starry skies”.
The second stanza continues to use the the contrast between light and dark, day and night to describe her beauty. We also learn that her face is really “pure and “sweet”. The third stanza wraps it all up, she is not only beautiful, she is “good and “innocent” to boot. “Walk(ing) In Beauty” makes her beauty seem, more dynamic, as though it is partly her movement and the spring in her step that makes her beautiful. She is not just a pretty face in a portrait; it is the whole living, breathing, walking woman that is so beautiful.
Her beauty is compared to a night, which seems strange, as night is dark, and we often compare beautiful women to a summer’s day, but she is just not compared to night but compared to a night, where maybe there are no clouds, and a lot of stars. Perhaps being cloudless has to do with her personality, as her conscience might be clear, so that would count maybe as being clear as a cloudless sky. You do see “starry skies” at night and the brightness of the stars do relieve the darkness of the night.
This is the first time that the hint of contrast happens between dark and light in this poem. There are some sweet alliterations in these lines, which is another form of symbolism. Everything that is great about both dark and bright come together in this unnamed woman. So rightly so, she has got the best of both. Her aspect can mean both her all over appearance and her facial expressions. So to her appearance and especially her eyes create a form of harmony between the bright and dark.
If you have ever seen a woman or even a person who has dark eyes that sparkle or whose eye color contrasts with the color of their hair in a attractive way. Byron’s talking about the contrast that brings together harmony and beauty. Neither dark and bright are considered better or worse than the other, when Byron sets up a binary or opposition between the dark and bright. Since Byron is talking about the night maybe it would be the starlight or the moonlight, that is less bright and blinding than the light you may get during the day.
Could this be a critique of the male gaze, redefining femininity to encompass aspects beyond mere physicality? As the title says “She Walks In Beauty” the main theme of the poem is the description of a lady, the enumeration of certain qualities that Byron considers, give her beauty. The introduction of the verb to walk in the title is important because it gives connotations of advancing, not only in space, but in time. It makes reference to the movement of walking, and introducing the reader this way, into a bidimensional reading, which was constant throughout this poem.
I think that Byron was not being literal while saying she walks in beauty because I think he meant it to be deeper, not as a physical description, but rather an interior description. He is telling you about how her inner beauty comes out of her and flows into the hearts of others she meets.