Sample Essay

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The main theme of both these poems is the issue of mortality and the impending death that awaits each one of us. Although death awaits every living thing, yet humans being the only sentient species of the planet are the only one capable of reflecting upon the fact that they will die. The greatest human fear is the fear of death and inexistence. However if we allow ourselves to wallow in that fear, it would overcome us and nothing would ever get done. That is why humans have evolved many strategies to cope with their inevitable death; these strategies include philosophies and religious beliefs that rationalize away the fear of death. In the late 18th century, Britain, the normative method of coming to terms with death was to express belief in the Christian conception of afterlife; however both poets have eschewed this traditional method and have come up with innovative new methods of their own.

Many people sublimate their fear of death into the wish for the survival of their bloodline. They cannot live forever themselves but maybe in their family they will live forever. Some people sublimate their fear in the survival of their ethnic or religious community. That is one of the reasons we often find people repeating in their old age the bigotry and racism they may have opposed their whole lives.

Wordsworth has taken a rather unique path in the rationalization of the fear of death. In death his muse has become one with the interior clockwork of the planet. Lucy ‘rolled round in earth’s diurnal course / with rocks and stones and trees’ is not dead but more alive than ever because Nature, in Wordsworth’s Pantheistic thought is alive and is ‘God Himself’ or, in the very least, a manifestation of God. Thus Wordsworth consoles himself that death is nothing to be afraid of because when we die we shall become a part of something greater than ourselves and be more alive than ever before.

In ‘The Fly’ Blake has a different approach towards overcoming the fear of death. Blake devalues the life of a human holding it to be intrinsically of no greater worth than the life of a fly. Just like the life of a fly is insignificant for us, our lives are insignificant to God. If life is not worth anything, then it is not wise to worry about death rather one should enjoy the moment and live out ones’ life in a carefree and happy state just like a fly lives out its life. Though it is not clear whether the poem advocates this sort of life or not.

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