Greed in Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat (Favourite)
Greed is one of the underlying themes found in Thomas Gray's Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat. This greed becomes the ultimate demise of the lead character, Selima the Cat. Mr. Gray uses a few different literary techniques to bring to life the inanimate written words. These techniques along with word choice allow for the possibility of many different interpretations of the text.
The general format Mr. Gray follows is seven stanzas of AACBBC form, wherein the A and B lines consist of eight syllables and the C lines consist of six. Thomas Gray also uses alliteration to emphasize certain aspects of the peom. "...fair round face/golden gleam..."(lines 8 & 18) are two examples of this. The imagery that is used to paint the lyrical picture of the feline stalking its prey also describes in fairly great detail the appearance of the cat's surroundings. Gray's word choice enhances the ever present physical aspects of his subject. "...The fair round face, the snowy beard, The velvet of her paws..."(8-9) presents the reader with real symbolism that can be taken out of the text for what it is and then reinserted for descriptive purposes. Thomas Gray describes how the cat becomes rushed and stops thinking logically when she goes "...A whisker first, and THEN a claw/She stretched in vain to reach her prize..."(20 & 22). The author also uses words that have multiple meanings. "Nor knew the gulf between"(27) can be taken as the obvious, the body of water between the cat and her prey, or "A deep, wide chasm; an abyss"(www.dictionary.com). Either way, the imagery is the key directive here.
The word choice also adds visual exclamation points into the piece such as "...Her ears of jet, and emerald...