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Despair, Hope and Beauty - Death according to three American poets
2001 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor)Student thesis
Abstract [en]

In this essay I investigate how the three poets Edgar Allan Poe, T.S. Eliot and Mark Doty treat the subject of death. I try to find out what their similarities and differences are, and seek to find not only how each of them portrays death in their poetry, but also how they portray life after death, how they try to solve the riddle of death and how they see death as being a paradox. In doing so, I move chronologically, starting with Poe’s poetry and ending with Doty’s. As we will see, Poe saw death as a paradox, because it was able to produce a kind of supernatural beauty, but at the same time it destroyed the beauty. For Poe, death was something frightening, and the best solution he could think of, was escaping to a fantasy world to avoid the problems of life and death. Eliot started out with mainly the same problems as Poe, but later in his poetry, he provided another solution to escape the frightening death. He emphasized the possibility of going through purgatory and being reborn. Doty sees death and beauty as a paradox, just as Poe did, but in a slightly different way. To him, objects or people that are dying, radiate a new force of life that should not be there, so therefore death is not as frightening to Doty as it was to Poe. Doty’s solution to the problem of death is to create a beautiful world right here and right now, and use poetry and art to remind us of the special occasions in our life.

Abstract [en]

In this essay I investigate how the three poets Edgar Allan Poe, T.S. Eliot and Mark Doty treat the subject of death. I try to find out what their similarities and differences are, and seek to find not only how each of them portrays death in their poetry, but also how they portray life after death, how they try to solve the riddle of death and how they see death as being a paradox. In doing so, I move chronologically, starting with Poe’s poetry and ending with Doty’s. As we will see, Poe saw death as a paradox, because it was able to produce a kind of supernatural beauty, but at the same time it destroyed the beauty. For Poe, death was something frightening, and the best solution he could think of, was escaping to a fantasy world to avoid the problems of life and death. Eliot started out with mainly the same problems as Poe, but later in his poetry, he provided another solution to escape the frightening death. He emphasized the possibility of going through purgatory and being reborn. Doty sees death and beauty as a paradox, just as Poe did, but in a slightly different way. To him, objects or people that are dying, radiate a new force of life that should not be there, so therefore death is not as frightening to Doty as it was to Poe. Doty’s solution to the problem of death is to create a beautiful world right here and right now, and use poetry and art to remind us of the special occasions in our life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. , 22 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53641Local ID: ENG C-11OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53641DiVA: diva2:1102201
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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