The epic symbol : the poet's representative and thematic journey in Victor Hugo's Les contemplations



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This study explores the journey of the poetic speaker in the structure and themes of Victor Hugo's Les Contemplations, told by the vehicle of memory in recording the memoirs of his soul. Following an atemporal format, the poems in this work present a chronicle of Hugo's time in exile expressed in profoundly lyric verse immortalizing the epic and representative quest of his poet. Beginning with the origins of his poetic gifting and the goal of his quest, the tradition of epic poets already finished with their journey, the power of the poetic word and studying his intermediary relationship to the worldly and spiritual realms, the manifestation of this relationship in the structure of Les Contemplations and the poet's ultimate ascent to the frontiers of hidden truth. The poet traverses through his poetry and experiences a transformation from an allegorical figure to a symbolic figure in this epic account. Although it has been argued that Les Contemplations is an allegory, in studying the speaker of the poems as he progresses, the poet becomes a symbolic figure in his ascent.