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Character Analysis in Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

Character Analysis Examples in Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came:

Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

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"all agree   Hides the Dark Tower..."   (Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came)

Despite his reluctance to believe the hoary cripple, the speaker acknowledges that “all agree” that the path to the Dark Tower is off the thoroughfare and down another path. This inclusiveness suggests that the speaker has foreknowledge of the road to his destination, but his reluctance to initially accept the directions from the hoary cripple indicates a skepticism, possibly brought on by the hoary cripple’s demeanor or from the speaker’s many years of fruitless searching.

"If at his counsel I should turn aside..."   (Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came)

This stanza is an extension of the previous one, in which the speaker guesses what would happen if he were to follow the hoary cripple’s advice. Most of the poem consists of the speaker’s interior thoughts as he reacts to the perils of his journey, creating an ongoing impression of his mental state that often conceals the actuality of the nightmarish events.

"What else should he be set for, with his staff?..."   (Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came)

The speaker uses the hoary cripple’s staff to justify the distrust he feels in the man’s presence. While a staff would be necessary to aid a cripple in moving, it also has mystical associations as the tool of sorcerers and wizards. This suggests that the speaker distrusts him because he possesses otherworldly power and harbors malevolent goals. Nathaniel Hawthorne does something similar in “Young Goodman Brown” when the titular Goodman Brown encounters an old man in the forest whose only remarkable feature is his sinister staff.

"On mine..."   (Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came)

The speaker realizes that the hoary cripple has trained his gaze on the speaker’s own eyes, seeking to assess whether or not his information, his alleged lies, have had an affect on the speaker’s behavior. The eagerness with which the hoary cripple looks for a reaction suggests that he derives immense pleasure from deceiving victims with his misdirection.

"hoary cripple..."   (Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came)

Browning’s speaker encounters the “hoary cripple,” whom he immediately suspects of lying to him. The adjective “hoary” describes someone as having gray or white hair from old age. In a broader sense, it can also mean “extremely old,” with connotations of respectability, as in an ancient legend or tradition. The cripple is therefore placed among the wizened old men that appear throughout heroic epics, offering their wisdom to the questing heroes; however, Browning subverts the archetypal helpful wizard with the deceitful seer.

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