‘Crossing the Bar’ contains the most powerful presentation of death in the anthology. To what extent do you agree? Discuss with reference to two other poems in the collection – Tennyson question
Tennyson presents death in different ways in ‘Crossing the Bar’, ‘Break break break’ and ‘Morte D’Arthur’. Each presentation is powerful however; it is difficult to decide whether ‘Crossing the Bar’ contains the most powerful presentation because it depends on what type of death the reader finds the most significant. If it is the death of one’s own life, then ‘Crossing the Bar’ might seem more powerful because it is a representation of Tennyson’s complacency with his own death. But, if the death of a friend relates more to the reader’s personal experience, death in ‘Morte D’Arthur’ could be more meaningful and powerful.
To some extent I do not agree that ‘Crossing the Bar’ contains the most powerful presentation of death in the anthology. Both ‘Crossing the Bar’ and ‘Break break break’ use imagery of the sea to convey different meanings. In ‘Crossing the Bar’, the sea represents the world the speaker will transgress into after death. ‘And may there be no moaning of the bar, when I put out to sea’. Tennyson uses the metaphor of the sandbar to describe the barrier between life and death. One side of the sandbar is life and the sea on the other side is death. This is a powerful representation because Tennyson sets out a distinction between the two worlds clearly, suggesting that death should be embraced because it’s now peaceful and natural. ‘And may there be no sadness of farewell, when I embark’. This is in contrast to the normal response of death, which is indicated in ‘Break break break’.