Lycidas Analysis

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Understanding Death and Religion through “Lycidas” Where we came from and where we are going are topics that have interested people for thousands of years. To answer these questions people looked to the gods for understanding. Over time people have learned more about the world, but there are still many unanswered questions they seek answers for about life. Through the poem “Lycidas” we will examine how the speaker comes to terms with the sudden passing of his young and healthy friend. We will then examine the religious views of the speaker and his feelings about the corruptness of the church at that time period. Lastly, we will discuss the use of deity figures to help the speaker understand what comes next in the after-life. Greek deities…show more content…
In “Lycidas” the speaker is trying to understand how his friend could be “dead ere his prime” (Milton 8). The death of “Lycidas” in the poem is directly correlated to the author John Milton’s friend Edward King. Both of them died at sea at a young age. Milton’s rhyme scheme in the poem shows inconsistencies between paragraphs. The unpredictability of the rhyme scheme is correlated to a person’s distraught feeling of the fragility of life. The speaker in “Lycidas” tries to blame water deities for what happened: “Where were ye Nymphs when the remorseless deep / Clos’d o’re the head of your lov’d Lycidas (Milton 50-51). The gods should have been watching over Lycidas on his…show more content…
Religion is an overarching theme in “Lycidas”. The speaker uses many pastoral references to discuss his distaste for the direction the Protestant church is heading: “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, / But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw, / Rot inwardly, and fowl contagion spread” (Milton 125-27). Milton’s views of the congregation of followers for the Protestant church at that time period is shown through the speakers pastoral references of sheep being lead to die. The Puritans, which are “a group of English Protestants seeking ‘purity’” (Stothers), have a viewpoint that “God is seen as the creator, preserver, and governor of each and every thing” (Stothers). With the death of Edward King, Milton is using his writing to try to comprehend why god did not intervene. Apollo, Phoebus, comes in to explain to the speaker why Lycidas life came to an abrupt end. He shares, “Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil” (Milton 78). Apollo, who is recognized as a god of truth and prophecy (Stothers), is trying to ease the speakers sorrow by sharing that there is a reason behind the death of

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