Literary Analysis : ' Elegy '

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Julie Stockton
Professor Michael Caldwell
English 640 Poetry: Graveyard Poetry
May 4, 2015
Immortality within the Graveyard Genre Simply defined Graveyard Poetry is a formula of poetry that is comprised of the speaker positioning himself within a graveyard and discussing life and death and man’s position within them. While being identified as a precursor to Romanticism, this genre is characterized by much more than the setting and the obvious death that has been attained by the inhabitants of the graveyard. This genre is also defined and maintained by the immortality that is expressed and implied by the authors of this time period. Thomas Gray 's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" is a poem that considers the possibility of immortality for the people buried in the churchyard the speaker visits. Even though previous sections of the poem explore different ideas, like the speaker 's sadness for those who had passed through their earthly lives ignobly and seemingly without consequence, "Elegy" closes strongly with five quatrains and the epitaph, which greatly emphasize Gray 's belief in the immortality of the dead. The poem 's other themes which appear unconnected, actually entwine with the main theme of life after death. In the end, the poem considers the nature of the speaker 's own immortality as a possibility in either a physical or figurative sense. Ultimately, "Elegy" argues that the dead do seem to live and their accomplishment is a type of perceived immortality
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