Monday, 3 October 2016

Matthew Arnold uses the medium of his poem titled: "Shakespeare" to eulogize William Shakespeare by telling the readers about Shakespeare's life and time. 
The poet opens with,
"Others abide our question. Thou art free
We ask and ask, thou smiles and act still,
Out-topping knowledge for the loftiest art"

He tells us about the knowledge of Shakespeare, and how his works reflects his identity. Others can't skip their questions but he is free.

In line 4, the poet tells us that Shakespeare is like a king, and he is also steadfast and strong in his art. His dwelling place is in the heaven of heavens where he finds peace.

"Making the heaven if heavens his dwelling place
Spares but the cloudy border of his base,
To the foil searching of immortality"
The poet in eulogizing Shakespeare, said that the stars and sunbeam know him. He did not rise to prominence through school, he self-schooled, self-scanned, self-honoured and self-secured himself. He didn't allow
circumstances to bring him down, rather he used every opportunity to be at his best in his art no matter what. He rose above lack of self-esteem and insecurity.
"And thou who didst the stars and sunbeam know
Self-schooled, self-scanned, self-honoured, self-secure."

In the last three lines, Arnold tries to show us the few odds Shakespeare passed through as to rise to prominence in his art. He endured pains, grief and in time of weakness he never gave up on himself. All his self-denial paid off and he became victorious after all.

The poet portrays the life of Shakespeare to us, and his never giving up spirit, confidence, hard work and diligence that made him what he became, and how everything worked out for his good.
"All pains the immortal spirit must endure
All weakness that impairs, all griefs that bow
Find the sole voice in that victorious bow"

Moses Chibueze Opara aka Mr. Humility
(a contemporary Nigerian poet and poetry analyst)


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