Nature and Death in Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant Essay

829 Words 4 Pages
Nature and Death in Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant

The title of William Cullen Bryant’s poem “Thanatopsis” is Greek for “a view of death”. In this poem Bryant personifies nature and discusses death from it’s perspective. The poem begins by talking of the importance and beauty of nature. The original persona used at the beginning of the poem shares with the reader his great appreciation towards nature and the importance to one who appreciates nature to take full advantage of what it offers and learn from it all that they can. The poem continues starting on line 18 by taking on the “still voice” of nature and through her words comforting he whom listens on her honest view of death. Nature sees the world through all time
…show more content…
In these lines nature personifies different aspects of herself in comparing these eternal things to the reader’s temporal state. The sun is described as being “all-beholding” which is an example of nature being presented as very powerful throughout the poem. Almost every time an aspect of nature is mentioned there is an adjective to go with; in line 27 is mentioned a “insensible rock”, then in line 28 “sluggish clod” and “rude swain”. There are many other examples of this, which are used to help with the imagery of the poem as it amplifies the use of each example of nature presented. In addition to showing the power of nature through the adjectives sometimes they are used to convey the grimness of the subject at hand with words like “gray and melancholy in line 43 or “solemn” in line 44. At some points one can see contrasts used for effect. In lines 46-48 the sentence “The planets, all the infinite hosts of heaven are shining on the sad abodes of death through the still lapse of ages,” one can see the contrast from the beginning of the sentence to the end. The phrase “infinite hosts of heaven are shining” presents a positive image, whereas “the sad abodes of death” then quickly changes the original imagery of the sentence. The attitude of the persona at the beginning of the poem is one of respect for nature. The first few lines describe the beauty of

Related Documents