Theme Of Immortality In Literature Essay

1107 words - 5 pages

For centuries people have desired to transcend the limits of a temporary life, yearning for the ultimately unattainable goal of immortality. Poets have also expressed in their works the desire to remain as they are with their beloved despite time and death. Although William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 55” and Edmund Spenser’s “Sonnet 75” from Amoretti both offer immortality through verse, only Spenser combines this immortality with respect and partnership, while Shakespeare promises himself immortality as long as the sonnet continues to be read. Spenser debates with his lover, treating her as his equal as Shakespeare takes an egotistical approach to the topic and praises himself. However, both ...view middle of the document...

She says to him: “For I myself shall like to this decay,/ And eke my name be wiped out likewise” (7-8). She believes that just as her name is removed by the waves, her body will face the same fate at the hands of time. Nevertheless, he feels confident that he is able to immortalize his love through alternate means. Spenser writes: “My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,” (11). The poet believes that the poem he writes will be eternalized with time, and along with it so will its subject be immortalized.
William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 55” is chiefly concerned with the human desire to be remembered and immortalized in an attempt to defeat time. The poem suggests a strong awareness of the inevitability of death using images of the decay that accompanies time and emphasizing the destructive results of “wasteful war” (5). Traditionally, the octave presents the problem, which in this case is temporary life, and the sestet provides the solution to the dilemma of a fleeting existence. In the first eight lines of the poem, the speaking persona discusses the different forms of destruction likely to befall any physical attempt to immortalize the memory of a person. The following six lines present the sonnet itself as a successful means of immortalization. Shakespeare has the utmost confidence that his poems will be thoroughly enjoyed forevermore, “Ev’n in the eyes of all posterity / That wear this world out to the ending doom” (11-12). The anxiety running throughout the poem is not merely due to a fear of destruction, but the idea that all traces of the subject’s existence may be completely erased from history. The poem rejects feeble human attempts at preserving the memory of an individual through the building of monuments. The sonnet itself is represented as an indestructible vehicle of immortality. “You live in this,” (14), declares the speaker in the last line of the sonnet, suggesting that the poem itself will be preserved since it is immune to physical obliteration. The last line tells how the poem will achieve immortality by suggesting that despite time, this sonnet will always “dwell in lovers’ eyes” (14). This phrase suggests that while human beings and physical monuments are lost and forgotten, this verse will forever exist in the eyes of all...

Other Essays Like Theme Of Immortality In Literature

Presentations of God in Children's Literature

5923 words - 24 pages Presentations of God in Children’s Literature: His Dark Materials and The Chronicles of Narnia In recent years no series of children’s books have caused quite so much controversy as Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. While also gaining attention for the success of the series (having sold over 15 million copies worldwide and received many awards including the 2001 Whitbread Book of the Year award, the first time such an award

The Theme Of Oppression In 'A Tale Of Two Cities'

626 words - 3 pages thieving soul, he takes it to mean that she wants him to be caught and punished, so he will stop grave robbing. His son sees him the next morning bashing his wife's head into the headboard of their bed as a punishment for her prayers. Mrs. Cruncher lived in a constant oppressive atmosphere as she tried to conform to her husband's wishes, but was never good enough for him, as he abused her pretty much every day.A more prominent example of this theme is

My Brother’s Keeper: the Theme of Brotherhood in “Sonny’s Blues”

1021 words - 5 pages My Brother’s Keeper: The Theme of Brotherhood in “Sonny’s Blues” “The Book of Genesis” is frequently referred to as the story of The Fall, and Baldwin’s reliance on that biblical text is evident in the narrative where Baldwin uses the verb “to fall” in the text.” When the narrator greets Sonny on his release from prison, the narrator fondly remembers Sonny’s first steps as a child: “I had been there when he was born

Voice, Imagery, Symbols And Theme In Snows Of Kilimanjaro

1322 words - 6 pages Voice, Imagery, Symbols and Theme in Snows of Killamanjaro The Snows of Kilimanjaro, a short story by Ernest Hemingway, is a brilliant study of a man's final hours precluding death.  The story centers around Harry and his wife, waiting for a plane to come and take him to a doctor or hospital.  Thus begins a stream of passages that takes the reader along with Harry while he drifts in and out of consciousness, moving from one life to the

Theme of Forgiveness in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

1370 words - 6 pages Theme of Forgiveness in The Scarlet Letter   "The public is despotic in its temper; it is capable of denying common justice when too strenuously demanded as a right; but quite as frequently it awards more than justice when the appeal is made, as despots love to have it made entirely to it's generosity." The Scarlet Letter (156)          One of themes that Hawthorne conveys in The

The Theme Of Failure As Presented In Das Boot

1061 words - 5 pages The Theme of Failure as Presented in Das Boot     "When 'Das Boot' was first released in the United States, its running time was 145 minutes, and it won huge audiences and no less that six Oscar nominations-unheard of for a foreign film." The genius of Wolfgang Petersen's "Das Boot" is that to Americans it is considered a foreign film indeed; not only in the sense that the film is from Germany, but because the film offers a unique

The Concept Of Metamorphosis In Life And Literature

682 words - 3 pages a cat but always with a deformity. They could also transform people into any wicked object they desired. On the other hand, sorcerers could also use their power of metamorphosis to help mankind, create beauty and fulfill ones wishes. Again, the powers of good and evil, positive and negative appear when describing metamorphosis because change can be great or malevolence. Metamorphosis is a common theme in pieces of literature because the

Literature Review of Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment in Organisations

2046 words - 9 pages Literature review of Job satisfaction and organizational commitment in organisations Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment are two of the most prominent work attitudes examined in the work and organizational literature. These constructs also receive much attention within the more specific work-family literature. Researchers have often included both constructs in their examination of the relationships between work-family issues and

The Theme of Ragility of Human Reltions in Ian Mcewan's Novel Atonement

1577 words - 7 pages Representations of human connections in Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement As early as in Chapter One, McEwan introduces the theme of human relationships and love. The Tallises – Emily and Jack – have been married for years and their wealthy household gives off the impression of stability. However, they do not see much of each other – Jack’s job with the government keeps him busy in preparation for the coming war and he spends more time in London

The Recurring Theme Of Death In The Poetry Of Philip Larkin

1397 words - 6 pages The Recurring Theme of Death in the Poetry of Philip Larkin. In reading the poetry of Philip Larkin for the first time, one is struck by the characteristically glum atmosphere that pervades most of his poems. The vast majority of his verse is devoted to what is generally taken to be negative aspects of life, such as loneliness and dejection, disappointments, loss, and the terrifying prospect of impending death. Evidently, there are

Consider The Theme Of Loneliness In The Novel Of Mice And Men. How

3522 words - 15 pages Consider The Theme Of Loneliness In The Novel Of Mice And Men. How Does It Affect The Characters? I will be looking at the theme of loneliness, how it effects the characters, how the scenes roll in with what's happening etc. When you read about George and Lennie you realise that they have a history. You think that they are a perfect pair. One is smart, aggressive, quick and looks out for the other (George) while the other one (Lennie

Related Papers

Representations Of Warfare In Literature Essay

3665 words - 15 pages Representations Of Warfare In Literature. Research Questions -Through whose eyes do we see warfare and its effects in each text? -To what extent does the context (setting, race, gender, political stand point, etc) effect societies views on warfare? -What similarities and differences are there between how warfare affects society in the texts? What does it tell us about the ways in which people have viewed warfare over time? The Western

Theme Of Alienation In Modern Poetry

2912 words - 12 pages Theme of alienation in modern literature “Alienation” has been the recurring theme in the 20th century English Literature. While the eminent literary personalities conceived it as the ailment of the modern society, many critics considered it as the objective fact of man’s life in society and not the mere “psychological and spiritual concept” referring to a state of mind. Although the concept has found its true expression in 20th century

The Theme Of Wealth In The Pearl

854 words - 4 pages The Theme of Wealth in The Pearl Wealth is something that all people want. It was no different in The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Wealth is a major theme in the book. Wealth can bring a lot of good, but also can be very destructive if it is abused. The symbols, imagery, and characters all bring out how wealth can be helpful or destructive. The animal imagery in the book shows how wealth is destructive. The animals and people start off happy in

Use Of Theme In "Everyday Use"

1018 words - 5 pages The theme of Everyday Use is not immediately apparent, although Alice Walker begins the story by creating a familiar setting in the comfort of home that lead to the spirit of heritage and its importance in our lives. The protagonist, a single mother of two daughters, sees herself as ."..large...rough... slow-witted" and not fitting into the social strata of her oldest daughter, Dee, who ."..has held life always in the palm of her hand