It is a lyric poem that centers on Tennyson’s grief over the death of his best friend Arthur Henry Hallam. But it is more than an elegy that expresses the poet’s heartache and emptiness, the poet also presents us the impersonal characteristic of nature.
The main theme is bereavement, which is presented mainly in the first and the last stanzas, and the two middle stanzas, which describe the sun rises, children laugh, and business goes on as usual, present us a picture of joy and assured life so alien and distant from the poet, it makes the poet’s grief even more outstanding .How could the world be so cruel and unfeeling?
Tennyson’s friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, was just on his youth when he died. The shock of Hallam's death impressed upon Tennyson how precious youth is. To underline this idea, and to express the agony he suffers at the loss of young Hallam, Tennyson presents images of youthful joy: the fisherman's boy playing with his sister and the sailor lad singing in his boat. These youthful joys are all ever so close to him that he could have easily experienced with his best friend, but now the grief has deprived him of all these.
Nature continues to function according to its rhythms and cycles regardless of what happens, well or bad, to human beings. The temperature may rise just when a worker works outside in the sun in summer. There may be a snowstorm just when a bagger finds on place to take cover. And the sea will rise and fall in a defiant, unrelenting rhythm that refuses to acknowledge tragedy in the everyday life of average men. Tennyson laments this cold indifference in "Break, Break, Break." The most emotional and furious “Break” is not only from the waves of the ocean but also from the heart of the poet.
The poet grieves the loss of his friend, nature, of course, does not stop to mourn the loss of anyone. Cold and indifferent, it carries on: the waves of the ocean striking against cold gray stones without pausing even for a moment. The rest of...