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Compare The Poets Attitudes Towards Death In Sonnet 73 And Crossing The Bar.

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Introduction

Compare The Poets Attitudes Towards Death In Sonnet 73 And Crossing The Bar. The poems that are being compared are, 'Sonnet 73' written by William Shakespeare in the late 16th century and 'Crossing The Bar' written by Alfred Lord Tennyson in the 19th century. Shakespeare's Sonnet 73, consists of fourteen lines, of which three quatrains and a couplet. Each line holds ten syllables and contributes to a regular line scheme. Shakespeare's syntax is because of the sonnet, as he has to constrain himself, as there is only a certain amount of syllables he can use in each line. Shakespeare fully utilises the quatrains and couplet, which traditionally form a sonnet. These allow him to shape his three metaphors into each quatrain, narrowing the time span in each, in a process of focusing down to his deceptively simple final couplet. Sonnet 73 is not simply a procession of interchangeable metaphors; it is the story of the speaker slowly coming to grips with the finality of his age and his impermanence in time. Shakespeare may have written this poem for a close friend as he uses the word, 'thou' which indicates that he had known the person very well. The 'friend' may have been male as Shakespeare addresses 126 of the 154 sonnets to the male sex. It seems as if Shakespeare wrote this poem to prepare his friend, not for the approaching literal death of his body, but for the metaphorical death of his youth and passion. The poet's deep insecurities swell irrepressibly as he concludes that his friend is now focused only on the signs of his aging, as the poet surely is himself. ...read more.

Middle

Winter follows spring, but spring will subsequently follow winter; and after the twilight fades, dawn will come again. In human life, however, the fading of warmth and light is not cyclical; youth will not come again for Shakespeare. In the third quatrain, Shakespeare resigns himself to this fact. In the third quatrain of Sonnet 73, the time span has decreased once again, from once being a season in the first quatrain, to a day in the second quatrain and now a fire in the third. This quatrain however, sheds more light upon the subject of what Shakespeare is writing about. In these four lines, Shakespeare is comparing death to a fire, but not just death, but the death of his youth. 'In me thou seest the glowing of such fire That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed whereupon it must expire, Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.' Again, Shakespeare compares death to a visual colour, which eventually fades out. In the previous quatrain it was when the sun set and the black night took over, but in this quatrain, he compares the youth of his death to the glowing embers of a fire which lies upon the ashes remaining from the flame of his youth. The last line of the quatrain is about his youth or metaphorically the fire being consumed by that, which once fed it. The image of the fire consumed by the ashes of its youth is significant both for its brilliant disposition of the past-the ashes of which eventually snuff out the fire, "consumed by that which it was nourished by"--and for the fact that when the fire is extinguished, it can never be lit again. ...read more.

Conclusion

(The latter is true to say as it is clearly how Tennyson feels about death.) This shows the reason the speaker persists for his father to hold on to life and not "go gentle into that good night." Likewise, to "rage against the dying of the light" as the speaker pleads, illustrates a similar appeal by the son. The dying of the light refers to life as a light that shines to prove existence. If the light dies, then the life has ceased to exist. The poet is the son of a dying father. Line sixteen states "And you, my father,..." thus proving the speaker's persona. The old man, at his deathbed, receives encouragement with pleads from his son to hold on to life. From here, we can clearly see that Dylan Thomas has a contrasting attitude to death than Tennyson. Tennyson would be grateful for anyone to 'Cross The Bar,' and meet his or her 'Pilot.' This is not how Thomas feels, however, in the last stanza, the son as well as the father accepts death as a part of living. Furthermore, the repetitious last lines serve to strengthen the speaker's thoughts. 'Rage rage against the dying of the light' and 'Do not go gentle into that good night.' The final stanza combines the last lines from the odd and even-numbered stanzas for an additional line. This portrays the ongoing war between life and death. The old man went back and forth between life and death as the stanzas' last lines switched back and forth. This poem, in villanelle form, artfully implies the universal theme of death's inevitability. - 1 - Sima Lad ...read more.

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