The Dungeon illustrates how people who are cast into imprisonment are subject to losing themselves in the despair of the whole situation. For a poem that is so ominously titled however it speaks to hope and some sort of salvation from the ever looming darkness that one would find within a dungeon. This hopeful salvation comes from looking beyond the confinements of the dungeon and looking towards the outside world with the hope for something brighter and beautiful that lies just beyond reach. That outside world will be what the anguished prisoner will need so that “his angry spirit [be] healed and harmonized by the benignant touch of love and beauty” (Wordsworth lines 29-30) and be restored to who he used to be.
The use of the word “beauty” in this context is debateable because if one were to use it a larger sense and replaced “beauty” with “Nature” then the lines become clearer. They paint a far more clear picture of the romanticism people were capitalizing on and let the reader know that ultimately what will save you from the darkness is this beautiful force of Nature. A Nature that is beautiful and loving and gives off feminine energy in waves. It is a powerful force that one can only begin to understand but that is certainly the kind of force someone needs to truly make an attempt to escape the darkness of a dungeon.
The last image is the one I chose to analyze in conjunction with The Dungeon because it simultaneously shows the darkness and the brightness that exists in the poem. Looking at the image one views a brilliant shining city in the distance and sees two figures making the arduous journey towards it. Similarly to the prisoner in the poem who needs to move towards to light in order to be healed of his anguish. Not only that but the city in the distance is also beautiful and clearly out of reach once more. So perhaps healing is entirely possible but it will come with time and patience. The healing is something along the lines of “thou pourest on him thy soft influences, thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets.” That shining city seems like the kind of place where there is warmth and sweetness abound that a cold prisoner might truly benefit from. It also seems like a city that is representative of Nature, of love, of beauty. Something otherworldly that has the potential to save our lonely cold prisoner.
By Diana Lara.