Essay, Research Paper: Fear No More


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William Shakespeare utilizes simplistic language to emphasize the themes in
“Fear no more;” however, he exercises complex metaphors to depict the
struggles one undergoes during a lifetime and as a result urges the reader to
overcome all melancholic sentiments that lead one to oppose a peaceful death.
The diction applied in “Fear no more” efficiently creates emphasis on
specific sections of the poem. In addition, the euphonic flow used by
Shakespeare illustrates the author’s serenity and resignation towards the
subject at hand. In essence, Shakespeare’s “Fear no more” employs
rhetorical devices such as repetition, appeal to the audience, and imagery to
reveal the desired theme. The fundamental theme of this poem is regarding the
significance of succumbing to death, for after having a full life everyone must
fearlessly face the end. In addition, the poem emphasizes that one should not
fight against the arrival of death in any of its forms. In fact, this argument
is first introduced in the title and further displayed throughout
Shakespeare’s poem. In the first line of all three stanzas, the author begins
with the phrase, “Fear no more,” openly showing his belief that one should
willingly submit to mortality. Furthermore, the poem’s theme is displayed
through the phrase “all must … come to dust.” By acknowledging that death
is inevitable for all of humanity, the author attempts to emphasize his belief
that one should not “fear” fate. The theme of the poem is also reinforced
through repetition. For example, to emphasize his stance, the author repeats the
phrase, “Fear no more” in the first line of the first, second, and third
stanza of the poem. Once again this occurs with the phrase, “must… come to
dust” in the fifth and sixth line of the first, second, and third stanza. This
is of importance Vidal 2 because it reiterates that the author’s main purpose
is to instill the notion that one should not struggle against mortal defeat
because it will eventually come upon everyone, including those that have
attained fulfillment from life. In the first two stanzas of Shakespeare’s
poem, the theme is applied to a wide audience that may have different fears. In
the first stanza Shakespeare explains that one should, “Fear not the heat o’
the sun, /Nor the furious winter’s rages” for everyone including “Golden
lads and girls all must, / As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.” Through these
ideas, the author seems to be asking his audience, the young and wealthy
(“Golden”) as well as the older and poor (“chimney-sweepers”), to
appreciate the good things in life and not to preoccupy themselves with
insignificant things such as the changes in the elements. In addition, he is
expressing the opinion that death will follow one’s life, whether good or bad,
and is not something to dread because everyone will, at one point or another,
have to endure it’s arrival. Throughout the rest of the poem, he continues to
stress this idea by addressing different fears and other types of people. Next,
the author urges the reader to no longer fear the “frown o’ the great” or
the “tyrant’s stroke” because even the “scepter, learning, [and] physic,
must/ All follow this, and come to dust” (stanza 2). Through these ideas, the
poet shows that he wants the reader to lead a carefree life and not be anxious
about what others may think or do. Furthermore, these lines also emphasize
Shakespeare’s thought that regardless of one’s status as royalty,
philosopher, or doctor one should not attempt to fight death. Overall, by
incorporating diverse groups of people as well as different fears each may have,
Shakespeare is able to convey his message of willful surrender to death. Lastly,
the poet uses the third stanza to bring together the ideas of the first two
stanzas in order to emphasize his position, however he adds a twist that
stresses the importance of this concluding stanza. For example, he asks the
reader, as in the previous stanzas, not to be alarmed by nature
(“lightning-flash,” the “dreaded thunder-stone,”) or by those who will
attempt to hurt Vidal 3 one with careless words or actions (“slander, censure
rash”). As opposed to the other stanzas, the third does not urge the reader to
ignore the small trifles in life. This idea is seen as Shakespeare continues
this final thought by stating, “Thou hast finished joy and moan. / All lovers
young, all lovers must / Consign to thee, and come to dust.” This statement
attempts to show that once one is dead one can no longer enjoy the happiness
(“joy”) or the distress (“moan”) that we are allowed to experience
during a lifetime; therefore, we should take advantage of the time we have left.
In addition, this line further reiterates the author’s theme that all,
including those that are blessed with emotional happiness (“lovers young, all
lovers…”), will have to leave this world. Ultimately, the third, and final,
stanza serves as a summary to the rest of the poem, successfully leaving the
intended theme inculcated in the reader’s mind. The use of imagery in
Shakespeare’s “Fear no more” allows the reader to relate to the poem by
permitting a view of the individual fears that the people must try to overcome.
The images that are seen throughout Shakespeare’s poem are those of nature and
diverse people as well as actions that cause emotional or physical pain. The
images of people serve to characterize everyone’s differing traits, whereas,
the images of careless actions and of nature represent situations that cause
pain and emotional distress. For example, the words, and phrases, “Golden lads
and girls” (line 5), “chimney-sweepers” (line 6), “scepter, learning,
physic” (line 11) and “lovers young, all lovers” (line 17) serve to
illustrate the difference in age and status of the people that will walk to the
same, inescapable path. Furthermore, the poem is endowed with images that
portray (nature’s and perhaps one’s) uneasiness and affliction, such as
“heat of the sun” (line 1), “furious winter’s rages” (line 2),
“frown” (line 7), “tyrant’s stroke” (line 8), “lightning-flash”
(line 13), “thunder-stone” (line 14), and “slander, censure rash” (line
15). These words and phrases have negative connotations, however, each is
preceded by the phrase “Fear no more” which in turn highlights the poem’s
theme and the significance of not being overwhelmed by Vidal 4 one’s fears.
Thus, the imagery utilized inflicts emotion upon the reader, which in response
grants him/her the ability to correlate to the poem. On the whole, William
Shakespeare utilizes effective literary tools to create a successful
composition. Through language, and the reference of different age and social
groups, Thomas creates imagery that is essential to the context of the poem. In
addition, the ideas presented allow the reader to relate to the theme of the
poem, which urges all to encounter death without having to fear it. For example,
the powerful emotions that are granted by the poem may have been inspired by
Shakespeare’s personal experiences, such as seeing the fear in a person’s
eyes when they knew they were nearing death. Therefore, it is important that one
does not become absorbed with melancholy or despair, but instead realizes that
one should, “Fear no more, … [for we] must [all] come to dust.” Vidal 5
Fear no more Fear no more the heat o’ the sun, Nor the furious winter’s
rages; Thou thy worldly task hast done, Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages.
Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust. Fear no more
the frown o’ the great; Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke; Care no more to
clothe and eat; To thee the reed is as the oak. The scepter, learning, physic,
must All follow this, and come to dust. Fear no more the lightning-flash, Nor
the all-dreaded thunder-stone; Fear not slander, censure rash; Thou hast
finished joy and moan. All lovers young, all lovers must Consign to thee, and
come to dust.
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