Analysis of “Fear No More the Heat o’ the Sun”: Technique and Message
Death knows no age, culture, social class, or gender. It is the inevitability that defines equality between every soul and meaning to every life. This idea is prominent through the poem, “Fear No More the Heat o’ the Sun”, written by William Shakespeare. In the poem, the author embodies the narrator speaking to the audience about living without the fear of several difficulties in life. The poem is somewhat of a funeral song, in which the author formulates an argument that highlights the significance of death. Shakespeare illustrates the theme and messages in the poem through repetition, structure, diction, and hyperbole. All at which contribute to unify this metaphorical piece that attempts to consolidate those who have lost a loved one or advice those trapped in anxiety – prevented from living life to the absolute fullest.
Repetition and structure are the roots, at which stabilize the poem. Initially, the phrase, “Fear no more” reappears at the beginning of the first three stanzas to reinforce the idea of living without worry. Shakespeare consistently includes the end rhymes “must” and “come to dust” as the final couplet of the first three stanzas in order to sternly state the inevitability of death. As seen in the lines, “Fear no more the lightning flash – All lovers young, all lovers must/ Consign to thee and come to dust.” It is evident that the author bluntly contrasts the aspects of life that are feared to the ones that are enjoyed. All at which end with “coming to dust”; a brief reference to the biblical ideas of death. The consistent use of enjambments, suggest a fast pace that prevents the reader from formulating disagreements against the author’s argument. Ultimately, the repetition of words, ideas, and structure raise the questions: why have no fear against the triumphs of life and why repeat the certainty of death among various people? These questions that linger in the readers mind, establish the intense mood and peculiar atmosphere embedded throughout the poem. Furthermore, Shakespeare structures the literary work by the least important problems in life to most important. In the first stanza, the author explains that the chimney-sweepers must no longer fear harsh weather conditions or low wages, as they will “come to dust” regardless of their problems. The people should no longer fear the upper class or care about food or clothing (stanza two) as the king, educators, and doctors will eventually “come to dust”. In the stanza three, young lovers must no longer fear sudden events or enjoy their infatuation for one other, as they will soon “come to dust”. Therefore, Shakespeare indirectly argues that one must not fear the many trials that life bestows because everyone will eventually die no matter their occupation, status, or emotional state.
With the assistance of diction and hyperbole, Shakespeare utilizes specific language to sway the reader into agreeing with the narrator’s argument. Generally speaking, Shakespeare avoids targeting specific individuals. He replaces names with the pronouns “thy” and “thee” in order to be inclusive of all groups and people within society. In the last stanza, the author repeats “thee!” at the end of the first four lines as a way of grasping more attention from the entire audience. For instance, the narrator’s argumentative tone fluctuates as he yells sternly,
No exerciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unfold forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Shakespeare argues that no harm comes to the deceased, as if viewing death as an opportunity away from life’s horrors. Additionally, specific words are used to exaggerate the various problems in life presented in the poem. For example, the narrator states that the chimney-sweepers should no longer fear the “furious winter rages”. Shakespeare chooses the words “furious” and “rages”, to personify drastic winter conditions, in which gives the reader the idea of a permafrost climate zone. However, “the heat o’ the sun” suggests the opposite. This use of exaggeration conveys the manipulation of hyperbole that portrays passing issues as massive difficulties, preventing one from living their life. In actuality, it is not. The narrator continues with, “Quiet consummation have/ And renowned be thy grave”, as a way of describing one’s death. Shakespeare utilizes the words “quiet” and “renowned” in order to convey death as peaceful and one’s grave as memorable and famous through the eyes of others. Therefore, using specific words to exaggerate complications in life and overrate admirable aspects of death, persuading the reader to agree with the narrator’s reason to no longer worry about anything in life.
“Fear No More the Heat o’ the Sun”, by William Shakespeare is poem that addresses the idea of fearlessness in the long, rigorous journey of life through repetition, structure, diction and hyperbole. Shakespeare deliberately argues about the irrelevance of worry, fear, and life itself, as death is the solution to everything. This idea is the element of many Shakespearian works that attempt to prove the same point. Whether it be the death of Romeo and Juliet to escape harsh trials in life and continue with their unconditional love in the afterlife or the “death” of Hero as an opportunity to live. Shakespeare consistently promotes death as an opportunity or beginning. Ultimately, the reader can view the poem as a message to no longer mourn for the deceased, but to interpret their death as a celebration of serenity. The reader can also learn to live life to the absolute fullest, as death knows no age, culture, social class, or gender. Wherefore, it is the inevitability that defines equality between every soul and meaning to every life.
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