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Compare the poems 'Elegy for Himself' and 'No More Pain'.

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Introduction

Poetry Comparison The poems 'Elegy for Himself' and 'No More Pain' were both written by authors awaiting execution, however the similarities of the situations and therefore the mindsets of the poets end there. Edward Moody is a contemporary poet on death row in the U.S.A. He had already been awaiting death for a number of years when he wrote 'No More Pain'. Chidiok Tichborne, author of 'Elegy for Himself', on the other hand was executed within a week of his trial in the sixteenth century. Moody had had far more time to contemplate his situation, whereas Tichborne only had time to write down his initial reaction. I believe that 'Elegy for Himself' is a poem about the ephemeral nature of life in comparison to the eternal afterlife, whereas 'No More Pain' is a poem about the inherently painful nature of the lives of all those condemned to death. I will be exploring my own reasoning in this essay. Tichborne's poem follows a rigid structure. All three verses follow the same rhyme scheme: the last word of the first line rhymes with the last word of the third line. Similarly the second and fourth lines rhyme. ...read more.

Middle

He does however continue to maintain that his life has not been lived to its full potential, stating that his 'full' glass is 'run', in other words his life has gone before he has had a chance to fully utilise his opportunity. In the line 'I looked for life and saw it was a shade', Tichbourne expresses his religious understanding that the afterlife is far more important than anything he may have to endure on earth, as the world is a mere shadow of heaven. This is also apparent as his crime was treason which he believed was committed on behalf of God. His fear of the punishment he would have to undergo must have been mitigated to an extent, as he would have felt that he would have earned salvation and forgiveness for his soul. Religion is so much a part of the fabric of Tichbourne's life that he doesn't feel it necessary to directly mention his belief that he will go to heaven, as to him that would have been stating the obvious. Although both poems focus on life's transitory nature, Tichbourne focuses on life's opportunities that he has been denied, whereas Moody focuses on the only opportunity for relief that he can hope for: the ending of his own life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tichbourne does not believe that his situation is the same as that of all others, firstly because he believes that his life has been ended prematurely and secondly because he knows that he will die within days. When describing the execution, Moody makes effective use of metaphors. He refers to the time of his death as the top of the hour: a positive description for a horrendous event. When describing how 'silence runs throughout the prison', Moody gives the sense of an active silence, which when coupled with the flickering 'lights' give this paragraph a very eerie feeling. Moody makes it sound as though this was all necessary by stating that once 'the deed is done' society may feel 'relief', but through this action his family must find it necessary to grieve and feel pain. Moody is attempting to say that the pain caused is not justified, as he makes the point that there can be no limit to the amount of pain that there will be. He makes this point cleverly by stating that 'maybe' the opposite is true. Tichbourne feels that his death is untimely, whereas Moody feels that his death is unnecessary. These poems are very different as 'Elegy for himself' refers only to the unfulfilled nature of the poets life whereas 'No More Pain' refers directly to the execution and therefore the forced and unnecessary nature of the poets pain. ...read more.

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