The Two Voices

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Two Voices is a poem written by British Poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson between 1833 and 1834, published in his 1842 volume of Poems. Tennyson wrote the poem, titled "Thoughts of a Suicide" in manuscript, after the death of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam in 1833. Tennyson explained, "When I wrote 'The Two Voices' I was so utterly miserable, a burden to myself and to my family, that I said, 'Is life worth anything?'" (Hill, 54). In the poem, one voice urges the other to suicide; the poet's arguments against it range from vanity to desperation, yet the voice discredits all. The poem's ending delivers no conclusions, and has been widely criticized—the poet finds no internal affirmation, invoking "solace outside himself" (Tucker).


  • Hill, Robert W., Jr., ed. (1971). Tennyson's poetry; authoritative texts, juvenilia and early responses, criticism. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-09953-9.
  • Tucker, Jr., Herbert F. (January 1983). "Tennyson and the Measure of Doom". PMLA (Modern Language Association) 98 (1): 8–20. doi:10.2307/462069. JSTOR 462069.