Fear Of Death In Poetry

1080 Words5 Pages
Fear of Death in Poetry Many famous poets write about death with different perspective and voice. Although death is a natural phenomenon, it is not easy to deal with. Most poets express that death is fearful and brings about a sense of a forgotten, ambiguity and uncertainty. However, William Butler Yeats’ “When You Are Old”, expresses his fear of death and regret of his past life, especially once he rejected his life companion, which loved. John Keats’ “When I have Fears that I may Cease to Be” also shows fear of death, but he resolves his fear by understanding unimportance of fame and love. In “When You Are Old”, William Butler Yeats accepts death calmly even though it is scary and frightening. In this poem, each stanza gives a deeper level of meaning. In this poem, mythical imagery and metaphor are used effectively. Especially, Yeats depicts death as “nodding by the fire” (line 2). This gives an image of the end of life, because the fire expired when it is extinguished. Through this poem, Yeats also implies that death is not a violent end, but more like one falls into sleep easily. Yeats also looks back to his past life using metaphor. The first stanza describes impending death, which is symbolized by a “full of sleep” (1). Sleeping also brings a dream, which is about the past and his youth in a self-reflective way. The phrases, “soft look” (3) and “shadow deep” (4) imply the youthful grace, which bring a general view of his past life who loved him. Therefore, image of past life, especially when he was young, continues to connect in the second stanza. Yeats describes the time, when he was young, as “moment of glad grace” (5). This phrase reminds his general view again. In the second stanza gives deeper meaning than the first, because Yeats describes her past life and dream. In the poem, “But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you” (7) refers when he met the
Open Document