former, Iseult of Ireland of the latter. Tristram has been destroyed by the worst possible combination of the two.
Arnold used the power of artifice in an ancient tale to yield new meanings by enhancing our understanding of contemporary life. The slow destructive power of the world is just as debilitating as the consumptive force of passion. The poem's balanced opposition, shown in the contrast between two kinds of women and two kinds of love, is disturbing. Arnold revealed that this dichotomy can be neutralized through imaginative power combined with the serenity that this power can create. The poet's message seems to have been that moderation and an understanding of the larger issues treated in the universal themes of art are the essential aspects of a fulfilling life. Love should not be a debilitating obsession or a force that gradually burns away all spirit, leaving only melancholy.