Poetic Perceptions of Death Essay

Poetic Perceptions of Death Essay

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Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) and Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) are two of the most well known poets of the 19th century. Tennyson, described as “the leading poet of the Victorian Age” and Dickinson, described as “one of America’s greatest poets” both won most of acclaim thanks to their strong ideas on death. Death is a common theme in any eras but it took a particular significance in the 19th century , especially in literature. As intense poets, both Dickinson and Tennyson shared their innermost views regarding death, particularly seen in Tennyson’s “Mariana”, “Crossing the Bar” and Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for death” and “Behind me—dips Eternity.”

In “Because I could not stop for death” and “Behind me—dips Eternity”, Dickinson challenges our perception of death. The depiction of death in these poems strongly contrasts paradigm, of her time and ours, of what death is commonly thought of being: terrible and tragic. Tennyson on the other hand, conveys both a sense of acceptance and despair regarding death in his poetry. This juxtaposition is seen in his poems “Crossing the Bar” and “Mariana” where Tennyson vacillates between viewing death as a ‘gate’ towards God and as a terrifying finale.

Death can be seen at the heart of work in two of these important Victorian English-speaking poets, but both express and portray these feelings in different ways. Nevertheless, “Mariana” and “Crossing the Bar” were chosen for this essay particularly because the feelings conveyed in both are even more vehement than that seen in other poems such as Canto VII or “The Lady of Shallot.” “Because I could not stop for death” and “Behind me—dips Eternity” were chosen because they both strongly accentuate Dickinson’s calm attitude towar...

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Stewart, David J. ETERNAL SECURITY. Unknown Unknown Unknown. 13 October 2013 .

Stevenson, David. Keats and Tennyson: Imminent Death Personified. Unknown Unknown 1996. 1 November 2013 .

Robson, William Wallace. Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Unknown Unknown Unknown. 25 September 2013 .

Tate, Allen. On 712 ("Because I could not stop for Death"). Unknown Unknown Unknown. 2 November 2013 .

The Dating Advisor. Because I Could Not Stop For Death. Unknown Unknown Unknown. 15 October 2013 .

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