Essay about Analysis of to an Athlete Dying Young

1103 Words Dec 8th, 2010 5 Pages
Analysis of “To an Athlete Dying Young” In his poem “To an Athlete Dying Young”, A.E. Housman makes a quite different approach on death. People have different perspectives on death, but more often than not, it is viewed as an undesirable event that people wish to avoid. The speaker in the poem, however, praises a young and famous athlete for dying before he became old and forgotten. This can be interpreted two very different ways. One can assume Housman believes that the only way for athletes to capture the glory is to die when at the peak of their careers. One might criticize him for having such a pessimistic view of life, but we must realize that we are among many people who give those athletes the feeling of disgrace as they are no …show more content…
Interesting aspect is that continued iambic tetrameter as previously discussed still gives the poem somewhat calm tone even when the hard sounds do the opposite. Here we can see the author’s intention to achieve both somber tone as he mourns the death and positive tone as he praises the death, which makes his poem an appropriate elegy. Last, but not least, metaphors and simile play significant role as they reference the relationship between the death and glory, which is the major theme in this poem. The death is compared to “shady night” (line 13) that shut the athlete’s eyes and a cemetery that the young athlete is being buried is compared to “a stiller town” (line 8). Description of a cemetery as a town implies the idea of afterlife in which the deceased athlete can live peacefully because “earth has stopped [his] ears” (line16) and the night has shut his eyes. In other words, he can live in a forever glory since he cannot see or hear his record broken. He also personifies glory when he says “from fields where glory does not stay” (line 10) in order to emphasize the idea that glory is a difficult thing to achieve, but it is easily lost or “withers quicker than the rose” (line12). Athletes who lived a long life “wore their honours out” (line 18) and “the name died

Related Documents