Symbolism In Emily Dickinson's I Heard A Fly Buzz

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Emily Dickinson’s poem “I Heard A Fly Buzz” has caused debate on what the fly and the buzzing stands for. Dickinson’s poem symbolism of the fly can be tied back to Christ or it has been seen as a negative symbol. George Monteiro asks the questions, why is that “Fly” in the room, and why is death personified as the “King”? He looks back and compares this to the folklore legends. He examines the religious legend surrounding the death of Jesus Christ and the flies which gathered on Christ’s body during the time of crucifixion. The flies prevented more nails to be driven into the body of Jesus Christ, because they portrayed nails. Which spared more from being used. The result is that flies may now dine at Kings tables with impunity (Monteiro, 44). Comparing to Dickinson’s poem, “the fly appears to enjoy similar privileges before the king, perhaps even to the extent of touching the dead one’s eyes (“anointing” them?) at the moment of the king’s coming to harvest and (death’s) table” (Monteiro, 44). …show more content…
However, Bachinger finds her reasoning for Dickinson’s symbolism in theology rather than in folklore as Monteiro did. One reason for Dickinson’s personifying of Death as the King, she recalled Job 18:14 where Death is titled the King of Terrors (Bachinger, 13). Furthermore, Bachinger talks about Donne’s sermon, which Dickinson may have been inspired. Donne makes the Lord the agent of resurrection at the time of death. Also, in Christian tradition, King of Kings is used for the Lord. “Death is thus a moment when the King of Terrors is defeated by the King of Kings, and the equanimity with which Dickinson’s narrator awaits death strongly suggests that the “King” who is to be “witnessed” then is a much or more the Lord as he is Death. It is the Lord who guarantees her the “last Onset” or the resurrection” (Bachinger,

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