Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Topics: Poetry, Death, Poetic form Pages: 2 (759 words) Published: March 31, 2013
Because I could not stop for Death, written by Emily Dickinson in 1862, portrays the concept of death in a very non-confrontational manner. The poet's view on death somewhat differs from what we are generally exposed to - associating it with fear and pain. In this poem, the journey of death is conveyed by the voice of a woman who has been dead for centuries. From the bed of her grave, she reflects on how Death, personified as a gentleman, brings her, on a carriage, to her final resting place where her soul still remains. Irony is used here because the speaker is not sure whether or not Death has tricked her into going from a busy life, to a peaceful death. Dickinson splits the poem into quatrains. Stanzas 1,2,3 and 5 use the same meter patterns. The first and third line of the stanzas has 8 syllables or 4 feet. Each foot represents two syllables, one unstressed the other stressed. A meter that is iambic is one that is common in the English language; so the poem could be said naturally. There are 4 feet so the meter is iambic tetrameter, tetra meaning 4. be CAUSE/ i COULD/ not STOP/ for DEATH

The second and fourth lines in the stanzas only have 3 feet so they follow iambic trimeter pattern, tri meaning 3. Stanza 4 is a special one. There is no particular pattern to it. Stanza 6 is slightly altered by the last line, which has 7 syllables. Otherwise it follows the same rules as the previous stanzas. In stanza one, Dickinson introduces the character of Death without hesitation. Here, Death gives us with the impression that he is a gentleman or a gentle suitor who kindly leads the speaker and encourages her to embark on the journey of death. The tone is peaceful and the speaker appears passive and is co-operative with his decision. Dickinson uses symbolism to depict the journey of death. This is apparent when she uses a carriage in line 3 to transport the speaker, Death and Immortality to the graveyard. Line 4 shows that “Immortality” is also on the carriage,...
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