The Flee from Me

Published: 2021-09-10 17:15:11
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Explication of "They Flee From Me"

Sir Thomas Wyatt's poem, They Flee From Me, reflects upon the sexual culture and practices that were greatly influenced by King Henry VIII during the renaissance period. Whether sexual attraction is a familiar or foreign concept, there will be moments when the experience is pleasurable and other times when it can complicate life and cause feelings of anxiety and self-consciousness, particularly when love is a product of it. The poem supports the idea of being lost in a world once accustomed to and losing self-control to memories of love.
Wyatt focuses on the sexual desires of a young man. He struggles with emotions concerning abandonment as he considers his past relationships. He was a gentleman and had once been driven by women who would've fueled his desire for immediate satisfactions and given him gratifying power. A master of seduction, it was ordinary for him to have adoring women willing to surrender their bodies to him. In the first stanza, Wyatt describes the women as being barefoot when in his bedroom, admitting to his sexual encounters with them. In his journal article, Wyatt's THEY FLEE FROM ME, John LeVay(1982) defines Wyatt as "a young man playing the field, bidding and dismissing a series of playmates, allowing himself the luxury of newfangleness: he is free; they are tame" (p. 3). The usage of iambic pentameter is evident in the first line with it divided into five groups of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The tone of the poem grows in intensity in line three by first describing the women as gentle, and then tame and meek and finally as wild. Wyatt pushes forward and unconsciously expresses himself through his descriptions of the women. In line five, he relishes the idea that the women put themselves in danger's way when they are with him, implying that he visualizes himself as wild and dangerous. The words wild, dangerous and stalking are usually used when referring to animals, which leads to the language in this first stanza to carry on with a dominating and conquering tone. LeVay(1982) suggests that "the hunter and hunted confusion is established in the first two lines with 'fle' and 'seke' and the ambiguous 'stalking'" (p.4). At the end of stanza one, Wyatt seems puzzled and his thoughts leave him frazzled and bewildered. He cannot fathom the reason as to why he is left alone and why women no longer have interest in him.
The words flee, seek and meek in stanza one are consistent with literary consonance. The poem also follows the rules of end rhyme with the exception of line 9 in stanza two. This marks the speaker's change in direction and power. In his desperation to understand everything he recalls a memory with a specific woman and focuses his thoughts on his indulgences with her. Wyatt idealizes this

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