Contrast Of Poetry Essay, Research Paper
It is the only experience that everyone is guaranteed. Some do it together and some do it alone; but in the end everyone dies. The inevitability of death has inspired many poets. Whether it is accepted death as in Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, or a plea for someone not to go as in Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas, or a forced demise as in the poem My Last Duchess by Robert Browning. In each poem the individual poet who penned them perceives death quite differently. As some begin to grow older they begin to feel as if they have served their purpose in this world and feel they are ready to rest. However, often they do not because of what they see as unfinished business left to attend. The Frost poem Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening expresses this feeling. The persona in this poem is a person riding through a wood as the snow is falling and being blown around. They stop and admire what they see. The persona says, The woods are lovely dark and deep this gives the reader the impression that the speaker wishes to stay or with a little interpretation that the speaker wishes to pass from this world Nelson 2(Frost1044). However in the very same line the speaker gives reason why they must stay by saying But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep (Frost1044). This tells the reader that the speaker, despite wishing to leave, cannot because of obligations they feel the need to meet. This poems connotative meaning goes much deeper than merely a traveler passing through a snowy wood does. This person is someone that is in the winter of their life and feels that it is their time to rest and go into the gentle wood, but as what often happens in real life the person stays to fulfill the promises made to loved ones. This poem perceives death as a restful and peaceful experience this person wishes to go through with. Sometimes the living plea for the dying to keep fighting. In the poem by Dylan Thomas Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night a son is pleading for his father to stay in this world, and he gives many reasons for him to stay. The son says, Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lighting they do not go gentle into that good night. (Thomas1055) The son gives his father a reason not to go, he is saying that wise men although they know it is there time do not go because their words have not yet been fully felt by society. The son goes on to say And you, my father, there on the height, Curse, bless, me now with your
Nelson 3fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Thomas1056) At this point the son is giving his father any reason to stay whether to bless him or damn him as long as he does not go. This poem perceives death through the eyes of a living loved one who wants the dying to stay. Death takes on a much more negative connotation in this poem than in the last. It is well known that death does not always come peacefully at the end of a long life. Many times a person s life is taken in a violent act. In the poem My Last Duchess by Robert Browning a Count s servant is visiting a Duke to go over the terms of the dowry for the Count s daughter. While there the Duke pulls a cloth from the front of a painting to reveal a smiling woman, the Dukes last Duchess. The Duke proceeds to tell the servant of his late Duchess s unfortunate habit of smile for everyone the way she smiled for him. This habit infuriates the Duke so that as he puts it I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. (Browning139) After hearing this the servant tries to get away to tell the Count but the Duke will not allow him saying very nonchalantly Nay, we ll go Together down sir. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me! (Browning139). This poem perceives Nelson 4death as a means of control. The Duke felt that the only way to control he smiling so it was reserved for him was to have her life taken. Death is given a very jealous connotation in this poem. The fact that death, the only experience shared by everyone less birth, is perceived so differently by so many is what makes it such an inspirational subject for poet. In each poem, death is given a very distinct connotative meaning, but in the end the denotative finality of death is inescapable.