A Perspective of Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
Life, is commonly not how we act ourselves, but rather how we react to any of the circumstances that we might find ourselves in. Our opinions and perspectives will have more influence over how we conduct ourselves than any sort of fact ever will. The Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard has many underlying themes to go along with the themes that are clearly evident from the surface. Also, we must go to Andrew Dillon and his use of the Latin and the phrase memento mori to recall that all of mankind, no matter the type of life they lived on earth, will eventually die. Thomas Gray does an excellent job of demonstrating this dynamic by showing that death is impartial and that it will claim anybody that it can get its’ grip around. Overall, the three most prevalent themes in Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard are that of class standing, death, and the search for yourself.
The first theme encountered in Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, is the idea or concept of class or social standing. The common people and nobility are examined throughout the course of this poem, however it is noted they are all of the same social standing once they are beyond the doors of death. This is a supremely powerful statement, because it basically states that nothing you do on Earth matters because one day you will not be on Earth any longer. This seems to suggest that, to an extent, life might actually be pointless because we won’t live it forever. The theme of social class is played upon heavily in this story, especially when the speaker is walking around the courtyard and examining the gravestones of the dead. The rich folks have elegant headstones with masterful designs carv...
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...rself plays a major role in the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.
As you can see, the three most prominent themes in Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard are that of the search for yourself, the concept of death, and the social standings within class. The search for yourself is punctuated by the fact that once we are dead we are unknown to the world beyond what we knew of ourselves. Often, what we know about ourselves is too little compared to what we think we know of the world. The concept of death here is presented as a neutral entity that kills simply to kill with no specific malevolence to any one person. The social standings also play huge roles in examining that while the churchyard is divided into sections of rich and poor, the dead are still dead. As R.J. Ellis said, “The social standings quickly become irrelevant once there is a level playing field.”
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