Beauty And Truth In Emily Dickinson's 'Death For Beauty, But Was Scarce'

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The mysterious, and often ambiguous nature of both beauty and truth has long enticed those who are attracted by beauty’s allure and truths intrigue. Over the course of time, it can be concluded that there is an utter significance in the perception of death. Emily Dickinson’s “I died for Beauty—but was scarce” carries both a philosophical and allegorical facet, in the fact that society’s standards do not always carry the best motive. Dickinson’s excessive use of the dash causes sudden pauses in order to emphasize the fact that themes such as beauty and truth are not valued in the determination of death. The concept of beauty is contrasted with truth using light connotation to symbolize the inescapable imperfections that come with being human. …show more content…
Dickinson ultimately wants her readers to question whether beauty and truth are worth dying for. Dickinson uses the themes of beauty and truth to convey that material accomplishments during life have insignificant influences on future societies and on death.
To open the poem, we are painted a scene of two speakers having a conversation. One is placed in a tomb claiming to die for beauty, while another is claiming to have died for truth. Both deaths were described in a parallel fashion. Beauty and truth were the causes of their deaths. The poem begins with the title, “I died for Beauty—but was scarce” (Dickinson, line 1). The capitalization of “Beauty,” further exaggerates its unattainability. Found in lines 2 through 4, we are introduced to the concepts of both truth and beauty and their similarities. Both truth and beauty are inaccessible to the speakers, serving as their indication towards death. By this, Dickinson is referring to not only the inaccessibly of such themes, but also their determination towards their fate. In the second line of the poem, Dickinson explicates the meaning behind the placement of her body in the
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The speakers are given no time to come to terms with their death. At this point, no achievements can save them from their suffering. As they are adjoined in parallel rooms, they become one. Therefore, truth and beauty are equal, “And I—for Truth—Themselves are One—” (Dickinson, line 7). As the speakers were put in the same room, they had already formed a connection with one another. Both speakers are intertwined with failure, hence, truth and beauty come with a certain clause for perfectness and adjournment. We often interpret these themes as possible grants for eternity, however, these themes carry the opposite effect. The speakers are given no say in the determination of their deaths, and that ultimately brought them together as one. Dickinson elaborates on this companionship in the same stanza, “We Brethren, are, He said—” (Dickinson, line 8). The term “Brethren” indicates a religious order of men, or in other terms, an another phrase for “brother.” As the narrator speaker is referring to the other speaker as a brother, there are assumed to share the same blood in a way, they both have the worldly views of materialism of beauty and truth that will cause them nothing but failure and lost sacrifices in the future. The presence of a deeper connection between these speakers and their causes of death denotes just how identical the themes of beauty and truth are to one another. Respectively, one might

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