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Reflection on Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “On Death” Essay

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Updated: Sep 17th, 2021

In the poem “On Death” Percy Bysshe Shelley raises several questions related to death. The author asks, “Who telleth a tale of unspeaking death? Who lifts the veil of what is to come?” Nobody can give the answers to these questions because nobody knows what happens after death, whether or not the existence ends at the moment of death, or whether the soul goes to heaven, as Christianity promises. The author describes death as unspeaking, the shadow that is beneath, and the moment after death as covered by veil. Death is one of mysteries people cannot uncover; death is irreversible and the person who died cannot return to life again and tell other people what it is like to die and what happens after death, whether God exists, and so on. There are many questions related to death to which the humans want to find the answers. The last two lines of the poem are devoted to the hope and, at the same time, fear people feel about death. Shelley asks who “uniteth the hopes of what shall be with the fears and the love for that which we see?” The author makes a reference to religions here: Christianity teaches to be hopeful for eternal life and be afraid of God. Death cannot be controlled or predicted and for this reason people are afraid of it. We are not aware what happens at the moment of death or after it and seek to find the answers to the questions raised by Shelley in the poem “On Death”.

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IvyPanda. "Reflection on Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “On Death”." September 17, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/reflection-on-percy-bysshe-shelley-on-death/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Reflection on Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “On Death”." September 17, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/reflection-on-percy-bysshe-shelley-on-death/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Reflection on Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “On Death”'. 17 September.

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