Summary Of Richard Dehmel's Erwartung

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“Erwartung” is a poem from Richard Dehmel’s book Weib und Welt, which was first published in 1896 and from which Schönberg also took “Verklärte Nacht”. It describes the anticipation of an encounter between two lovers from the perspective of an outside observer. The poem consists of five quatrains. As only two of the four verses of each stanza rhyme and the metre is slightly irregular, it appears formally far less strict than most of Stefan George’s poetry.
The first stanza describes the scenery. A pond, in which the moonlight is mirrored, lies next to a villa with an oak tree. Enjambments connect the four verses of the first stanza, which consists of only one sentence. The flow is never interrupted as each verse ends with an unstressed syllable while the following verse starts with a stressed syllable. Occasional dactyls in the otherwise trochaic metre convey excitement. The smooth flow of the sentence and the irregular metre hint thus at the title of the poem, “Erwartung”, which means “expectation” or “anticipation”. However, the first stanza does not specify whom or what is expected or anticipated.
Adjectives, particularly those that denote colours, are very important throughout the poem. They enhance the vividness of the scene and make it appear almost painted in the reader’s mind. Two pairs of contrasting colours dominate. The first two verses introduce the greenish blue of the pond and the complementary red of the villa. In view of the trimeter in the second and
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