Darwin’s theory of evolution shattered the common man’s faith in god and it projected human situation in the context of the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest. Darwinism shook the entire edifice of Christianity and the whole Christian world was in s state of shock, bewilderment and confusion. Thus the development science and Darwinism in the 19th C caused a marked spiritual disturbance which took quite often the shape of skepticism and sometimes a patient and agnosticism and even downright free-thinking. Mid-Victorian poetry is particularly shot with the tincture of this spiritual disturbance caused by the sudden collapse of the age old edifice of Christian values.
Scepticism and hence pessimism in Victorian poetry is the outcome of a deep-seated spiritual disturbance to which the sensitive poets like Clough, James, Thomson, Arnold and Fitzgerald, were eminently prone. They are known as skeptics
Tennyson also found a bitter struggle for existence in Nature which approved red in tooth and claws. Arnold finds himself standing between a world dead and the other powerless to be born. His scepticism gave him the form of despairing pessimism. We have in Clough the same brooding melancholy, spiritual unrest and disturbing introspection as we find in Arnold. Thomson’s pessimism is founded on the conviction that there was no hope for humanity any more than himself and that the appearance of progress was a mere illusion. Fitzgerald expressed a hedonism grounded on scepticism.