Depression's Hold

Depression’s Hold
The poem “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost, dramatizes the conflict the speaker is having between his depression and the shame he feels for something he has done. This is shown specifically in how the conflict relates not in what the speaker says but in what he really means. Although the speaker does not specifically state he is depressed, the images the speaker describes are merely metaphors for his depression. The speaker makes a clear reference to the shame he is feeling when he passes the watchman and says, “And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain” (1.2.6). The speaker is conflicted between fighting the overwhelming depression he feels and the shame that has most likely driven him to this state of mind.
This poem is a sonnet written in iambic pentameter with a Terza Rima rhyme scheme following the pattern aba bcb cdc dad aa. It has four stanzas and a couplet. In the first stanza, which comprises three lines, the speaker immediately opens the poem by saying, “I have been one acquainted with the night” (1.1.1). Night is a time of darkness. A person suffering from depression may refer to feeling “dark” when describing his or her emotional state. Acquainted means to know someone or something. Here by the use of metaphor, the speaker is stating that he knows what depression is like because it is the emotional state he is presently in. The first line of this poem sets the tone of the true depth of the speaker’s depressed state of mind.
The speaker then sets the scene by saying, “I have walked out in the rain-and back in rain” (1.1.2) providing the image of the speaker walking alone in the rain perhaps so depressed that he is unaware of being uncomfortably wet and cold. The metaphor could also represent the speaker being so depressed that he does not care about his condition. It also may represent his feelings of unworthiness to be kept warm and dry due to the shame he feels for whatever wrongdoing he has committed. This also may...