Skip to main content


William Shakespeare

Fathom: bottom
Thy: your
Coral: मूँगा 
Pearls: मोती
Knell: ring as in announcing death
Suffer a sea change: undergo a transformation
Hark: listen

Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies is taken from Shakespeare's play The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2. Here the spirit Ariel sings this song to Ferdinand, Prince of Naples, who mistakenly thinks that his father is drowned into the sea. Ariel is telling Ferdinand that his father lies thirty feet below the surface of the sea. 

Ariel is a spirit who is a very comic and miraculous (being or having the character of a miracle) character. He flies up invisibly and plays melodious music and song. In the given poem, he gives sympathy to Ferdinand, who is very sad on the death of his father. The Spirit Ariel tries to make the death meaningful with his melodious description. The Spirit Ariel says that Ferdinand’s father has been drowned into the sea. His body has been lying 30 feet below at the bottom of the sea. Every part of his body that was supposed to decay has been changed into something valuable (rich) and strange. His bones have been changed into corals and eyes into pearls due to sea – change process. Nothing of his parts of the body has been destroyed.  The sea nymphs are hourly ringing the death bell producing ‘Ding-dong’ sound. At last, the Spirit Ariel asks Ferdinand to listen the sound of the bell. The death is quite meaningful in this poem.  

Thus, William Shakespeare through the song of Spirit Ariel talks about immortality of life. He means to say that life does not die but changes to other forms. So, the death of Ferdinand’s father is meaningful. Death is nothing but just a medium of changing life from one form to another. Life after death is permanent whereas life itself is ephemeral (here today and gone tomorrow/short-lived). In this poem death is shown as a meaningful change. Death is not an absolute end but only a process of transformation into another natural object. The main idea of this song is that - a man who is part of the nature transforms into another natural objects after death.

Rhetorical devices used in the poem

1. Alliteration: the repetition of an initial first sound in two or more words of a line
Example: the sound 'f' has been repeated 4 times. 
Suffer a sea change
Hark! Now I hear them
2. Assonance: the repetition of the vowel sounds in stressed syllables. 
Example: five...lies, nymphs...ring
3. Onomatopoeia: using words that imitate the sound they denote
Example: 'ding-dong' 
This sound imitates the sound of the bell and makes the readers feel that s/he is listening to the bell.
4. The nasal sound 'ng' produces lingering, vibrant effects and the harsh sound 'd' remind us of death


It seems to be difficult to define ‘life’ and ‘art’. Life is mysterious and art is the imitation (copy) of life. So life and art are interrelated parts. Life creates art and art provides delight to life. Without any interest in art is a dead life, so art and life are inseparable.

Art is related to creation and life is related to experience of happiness, sadness, laughter, tears, joy, certainties and uncertainties. But art brings success in life. Life is transitory. It changes in different phrases in course of time. A small baby of yesterday becomes a young man today and old tomorrow. Eventually, he disappears from the world resting on the lap of death. Life comes across different sweet and sour events. Life is mixture of tears and smiles. Pain and pleasure are the friends of life. In other words, life is full of emotions, feelings, ideas and sentiments.

Art is the creation of life. It is permanent and immortal. Art makes life beautiful and meaningful. Art makes artist immortal. An artist lives in memory of people all the time after his death. Many literary artists show the relation between art and life. Some say that art is for the sake of life where as some say that art is only for art’s sake. However, life is itself the source of art and art is the source of joy. Art is life and life is art. Without art life seems to be meaningless and unattractive. The different forms of art like music, writing, singing, drawing, acting, dancing etc. make our life fruitful.


Popular posts from this blog

BBS First Year English Question Paper with Possible Answers (TU 2021)

PROFESSIONS FOR WOMEN - Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Summary : Virginia Adeline Woolf (1882-1941) was an English novelist and essayist, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century. She was one of the leaders in the literary movement of modernism.  The speech of  Professions for Women  was given in 1931 to the Women’s Service League by Virginia Woolf. It was also included in  Death of a Moth  and  Other Essays  in 1942. Throughout the speech, Virginia Woolf brings forward a problem that is still relevant today:  gender inequality .   Woolf’s main point in this essay was to bring awareness to the phantoms (illusions) and obstacles women face in their jobs. Woolf argues that women must overcome special obstacles to become successful in their careers. She describes two hazards she thinks all women who aspire to professional life must overcome: their tendency to sacrifice their own interests to those of others and their reluctance (hesitancy) to challenge conservative male attitudes .  She starts her

The Etiquette of Freedom - Gary Snyder

  In his essay " The Etiquette of Freedom ," Gary Snyder explores the concept of freedom in relation to nature and culture. He argues that freedom is not simply the absence of constraints (restrictions), but rather the ability to live in harmony with the natural world. This requires a deep understanding of the environment and a willingness to respect its limits. Snyder begins by defining the terms " wild " and " culture ." He argues that " wild " does not mean " untamed " or " uncivilised ," but rather " self-organizing ." A wild system is one that is able to maintain its own equilibrium (balance) without the intervention of humans. Culture, on the other hand, is a human-made system that is designed to meet our needs. Snyder then goes on to discuss the relationship between freedom and culture. He argues that our culture has become increasingly alienated from nature and that this has led to a loss of freedom. We have