Sir Walter Ralegh: What is our life?

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.

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4 Responses to Sir Walter Ralegh: What is our life?

  1. beatricefait says:

    Wow Sarag, I’m really amazed by you piece of writing! We both chose the same topic for this week blog and the same poem and in going on with the reading I realized we thought about the same work by Shakespeare which recalls Ralegh’s poem’s themes. I really realized how my ideas are close to yours and it was at the same time very interesting for me to read your version and interpretation of the poem for which you could glimpse also some sarcasm in it. Sarcasm was not the first feeling I had after reading at the poem the first time, which transmitted me just a deep melancholy and sadness. But I tried to reread it in the way you did, and I think i perceived something new from it! I agree with you when you say at the end that these poems may get us closer to these inevitable truths of life and I think already in writing a blog on them, we had a small but significant opportunity to think about it. Great job Sarah! If you want to read also my version, you can find it on my blog 🙂

    Bea

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  4. I very much like this sentence: “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.”- I think you are getting close to both Shakespeare and Ralegh in their sense that life needs to be lived with a little more seriousness and deeper appreciation.
    Good work Sarah.
    MG
    *Please attend to editing your work carefully. Here is what I have picked up:
    *This question is life long = This question is life-long [For correct use of hyphens see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/576/01/
    *The fluffy imagery= not sure what this means???
    *create a sense sarcasm= create a sense OF sarcasm
    *filled with unwanted jokes roles = filled with unwanted jokes AND roles [the roles are NOT the jokes- or are they???]
    * These ideas expressed by two influential writers creates a strong message= These ideas expressed by two influential writers CREATE a strong message [Agreement of Subject and Verb. Plural nouns need plural verbs and singular nouns need singular verbs. What should this be? http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/595/01/%5D

    Liked by 1 person

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