The Death of a Toad

Topics: Amphibian, Poetry, Toad Pages: 2 (711 words) Published: May 20, 2013
In Richard Wilbur’s poem “The Death of a Toad,” he describes the finals moments of a toad’s life and the first changes to the toad upon its death. Wilbur makes the transition of a toad’s death that is tragic because of the lack of attention and concern given to it. As he continues the poem, he shifts the tone from tragic to the peacefulness and respect of a hero. Wilbur exercises heavily loaded diction and vivid imagery corresponding to the tones in order to depict the toad’s death as tragic and heroic. The heavily loaded diction brings tragedy to the toad’s death and progresses to characterizing the toad as a hero. In line four, Wilbur references “cineraria leaves.” These words announce the death of the toad that was foreshadowed in the title. The leaves the toad lies on will eventually become what will hold the toad’s ashes. It is tragic because the toad seems so insignificant to world, including the power mover’s operator. In line five, Wilbur continues describing the toad’s leaves as having “a dim, low, and final glade.” The toad’s death appears even more tragic because it will fade away and will be forgotten. The words in the second stanza emphasize the tragedy: “As still as if he would return to stone…dies toward some deep monotone.” When the toad metaphorically returns to stone, the toad’s life, presence, and existence is gone, with no one to mourn and remember the toad. The monotone Wilbur mentions presents the idea that the world before and after the life of the toad will not change. However, finally in the third stanza, Wilbur’s diction gives importance and heroicness to the dead toad. The speaker describes the toad’s movement “toward lost Amphibia’s emperies.” Similar to the life of the toad, the amphibian empires are lost. Although Amphibia’s emperies are lost, the assumption of this the other amphibians, this life and death of this toad are important and deserving of a heroic funeral. Thus, Wilbur’s loaded diction addresses the tragedy of the toad’s...
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