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Analysis Of Punishment By Seamus Heaney

Decent Essays
Seamus Heaney is a widely celebrated poet from Northern Ireland and was well known for writing about his culture and song-like pieces that touched on historical and ethical natures. In “Punishment”, the piece focuses on the image of a dead girl, now a preserved piece of history, who was supposedly killed for committing adultery in Germany. In the dark, dramatic, and historical poem “Punishment” by Seamus Heaney, he uses overt words and phrasing, internal rhyme, as well as alliteration, metaphors, and other literary devices to uncover the brutality, injustice, and chilling exposedness of the murder of the young girl, who is the subject of the piece. In the introduction of the poem, Heaney paints the picture of the girl as if seeing her recently after she was killed, creating a chilling image of cruelty for the reader. The first stanza of the poem aims at setting the scene and drawing the reader in: “I can feel the tug / of the halter at the nape / of her neck, the wind / on her naked front” (Heaney 1-4). In this first stanza, he uses the repetition of the word “her” and alliteration—the repetition of consonant sounds—of the “n” sound. The repetition of “her” shows the author’s want for the girl to keep some part of her identity, rather than becoming a nameless body in history. This word also holds some possession; her body, however mangled or ruined it was, still belongs to her, even in death. But the reader also sees her vulnerability through her nakedness and the further
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