Here is the answer and explanation to the question In “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” why does the speaker speculate about what this old man might say about him? Use one or two examples from…
In “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” why does the speaker speculate about what this old man might say about him? Use one or two examples from the poem.
In “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” the speaker speculates about what the old man might say about him because the whole poem is concerned with how people are regarded after their deaths. Just as the speaker wants us to remember the lives of the ordinary people buried in the churchyard, he wants to be remembered by future inhabitants of the village, such as some “hoary-headed swain.”
In “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” Gray pays fulsome tribute to those ordinary folk buried beneath the churchyard and whose earthly lives have all but been forgotten. None of these people were famous; none of them wrote poetry like Milton or lead armies and states like Cromwell. But they were decent, ordinary folk who deserve to be remembered and honored for their hard work and simple lives:
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.
Those with ambition should not look down upon these ordinary country folk, who for the most part led lives of quiet virtue. Not only that but it may very well be the case that some of the people buried beneath the churchyard could well have achieved fame, or even infamy, if only they’d been given the same opportunities:
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood.
Hampden and Cromwell were leading figures of the parliamentary forces in the English Civil War. Cromwell went on to become England’s ruler after the execution of King Charles I. Milton was a great poet, most famous for writing the epic poem Paradise Lost. Gray’s point here is that, had it not been for an accident of birth, many of those buried in the churchyard may well have gone on to achieve greatness. In any case, the speaker wants to pay tribute to them, irrespective of what they did with their lives.
As the speaker is meditating on how people are regarded after their deaths, it’s entirely fitting and proper that he should show concern for his posthumous reputation. That explains why he speculates about what an old villager in the future—some “hoary-headed swain”—might say about him. To be sure, the speaker doesn’t want to be remembered as a poet; he just wants to be remembered, even if it’s only as that strange man who used to wander ’round muttering to himself:
Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt’ring his wayward fancies he would rove,
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz’d with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.
In short, the speaker hopes that future generations will pay his gravestone in the country churchyard the same degree of respect as he pays to those of the common folk he now so generously eulogizes.
Do you find that the article In “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” why does the speaker speculate about what this old man might say about him? Use one or two examples from…
If not, please leave a comment below the article so that our editorial team can improve the content better
Post by: THCS LeQuyDon
#Elegy #Written #Country #Churchyard #speaker #speculate #man #examples #eNotescom