CRITICAL/ CREATIVE: Create a topic of your own that mirrors your strongest interests in this week’s material.
As I write this blog entry I perhaps write not from what most interested me this week but rather what was most relevant to me. With the influence of various external factors happening in my life right now, I found myself asking myself this existential question that Ralegh poses. Life and death… how do we respond to both of these inevitable truths? What is our life? This is something that cannot be answered in 5 minutes, or even over a few weeks. This question is life long as alluded to by Ralegh.
Throughout his poem, Ralegh uses an analogy of how a play can represent our life and death, with our life starting as a”play of passion” to ending with our graves that act as the “drawn curtains” hiding us eternally from life. The fluffy imagery created through uplifting lexical choices such as music, comedy and spectator create a sense sarcasm. Through this, we can see the poet trying to deliver the harsh reality that most of our life is a comedy in the sense that it is wasted in various ways. After all the joking is finished we face death and realise our life was filled with unwanted jokes roles that did not truly represent our character. In the end of the poem, the poet is finally blunt. He confirms that “only we die in earnest – that’s no jest”. This perhaps is the most detrimental part of the poem that leaves the reader questioning the exact name of the poem, “What is our life?” The same idea is expressed by Shakespeare as he famously said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.” (Shakespeare) These ideas expressed by two influential writers creates a strong message to their audience. For me, this is a suggestion to live your life being more than an actor playing a certain role, more than a dramatic performance, and more than a myriad of jokes that make your life a harsh comedy.
As I said, this is not something one can answer in one sitting, however with the gift of literature and insight from wise writers such as Ralegh and Shakespeare we can hope to come close to these layered truths of life.