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Image of a Woman: Analysis of William Wordsworth Poems

Rhylee Suyom has hopped in three different worlds: the academe, the corporate, and the media. He enjoys being with nature and his family.

William Wordsworth Poems


Image of a Woman: Analysis of William Wordsworth Poems


William Wordsworth is one of the most influential figures and poets of English Literature. He was the son of John and Ann Cookson Wordsworth on April 7, 1770 (Poetry Foundation n.p.). He has been working not only for literature but also for humanity in general as he also uses his writing to enlighten his readers about the realities of society.

Wordsworth provides complexity and vivid descriptions of female characters who were not given much attention in the past. Among his lyrical poems would be “The Mad Mother” and “The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman”. These two lyrical poems were written by William Wordsworth as he writes about women of different characters. These present how women were portrayed and how society perceives them.

The Mad Mother

In the first poem “The Mad Mother”, the persona is a mother holding a child in her arms and talking to the child as if the baby understands. The setting is “underneath the haystack” (Wordsworth 7). The lyrical ballad is primarily about the worries of the mother and her struggles which led to her insanity. Her eyes were described as wild and her head was uncovered.

The scene I would like to explore would be her statement about her worries at the same time presents her courage in the situation that she is in. She presents her courage in facing the world for her child even if the world tells her that she is mad. In this poem, the woman expresses her capacity to protect her own child despite the treatment and the perception of society to her. It is possible that society just regards her as crazy with how she thinks and with what she thinks is the right way to deal with her son. This poem presents an assertion that might not have been expected from women in the past.

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The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman

The second poem is “The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman”. This is about the woes of a woman whose child was given to another woman. The mother feels so upset about what transpired in her life. This is also of the same theme as the previous poem as the mother professes her capacity to protect and love her child despite everything that may happen. She said that “then do not fear, my boy! for thee/ Bold as a lion I will be;/ And I will always be the guide,” (Wordsworth 51-53). She shows how she can be as bold as a lion and can do everything for her child.

This portrayal of the woman as someone strong and fierce was presented in the poem in a way that she does not seem to regard the society around her. She does not also regard the father as someone she needs after looking for him. This poem is a way to present how women can also be tough on their children.

The Two in One

With that, these poems present the courage that mothers can give for their own children since, during that time, women are regarded as fragile and gentle. They are expected to be dependent on their husbands and they cannot live without them. However, with the type of women that were presented, their assertion appeared too much that it may have been considered a form of hysteria or even insanity. Their attitude towards life was highly different from what the norms is expecting from them. These poems show what motherhood can do to women who are originally seen as weak or dependent on their husbands.


Wordsworth portrayed women in a different way since they are assertive, and they know what they want. They were presented as bold and fearless for the sake of their children to the point that it was translated as some form of insanity by society in general. Wordsworth intends to make people realize that it is the love for their children that makes them as courageous as that.


Coleridge, William & Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads, With a Few Other Poems. Project Gutenberg, 2011.

"William Wordsworth," Poetry Foundation. Web. N.p. Retrieved from

William Wordsworth Poems

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