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"Seascape In Memoriam" By M.A.S Stephen Spender.

1318 words - 5 pages

In the poem "Seascape In Memoriam", M.A.S Stephen Spender uses a number of literary devices to convey the various characteristic aspects of the sea. The poet emphasises the power of the sea over humanity and the deceptive nature which it displays to humanity, hiding potential violence and brutality. The poem revolves around the notion of sound as a means of conveying the different faces of the sea. Tone is an important device that is used to mimic the motion of the waves. As a consequence of the sea's rigorous activity those caught unawares often result in having their lives taken away, consequentially the theme of death is one that is highly prevalent, making the power of the sea yet more evident.The theme of the power of the sea and its deceptive nature are repeatedly brought up throughout the poem. Spender describes the waters of the sea as being 'mirrors flashing between fine-strung fires'. The metaphor of the sea being a mirror suggests its pretentiousness and the way in which it appears to be something it's not, by seeming harmless. The fact that the poet refers to the sea as being an 'unfingered harp' is an indication of its potential for power that requires only a small amount of force to be applied to its waters with a change in weather. Spender describes the land as if a celebration was taking place, 'the shore, heaped up with roses, horses, spires'. The poet uses listing of the horse an animal that had been trained by humans, roses that had been grown and cut by humans and spires which had been created by humans thus establishing the contrast between the self-willed waves of the sea and the tame earth. The deception of the people in regards of the real danger associated with the sea is brought up in this poem prevalently. The poet states that the seas gentle behaviour in pleasant weather is merely superficiality, 'a sigh like a woman's' proposes that like a woman who sighs in order to obtain something she desires through the means of obtaining sympathy. The sea does the same, deceiving humanity about its true might, hiding strength under its harmless sighs. The waters of the sea destroy anything that stands in their path, 'hedged in shires, these deep as anchors, the hushing wave buries', the fact that the wave is hushing, suggests that despite the silence, it is at the same time capable of swallowing up an entire district, furthermore supports the idea of the misleading properties of the sea. The statement that 'then from the shore two zig-zag butterflies...spiralling...until they fall into reflected skies' the reference to "butterflies" is a metaphor for people and their insignificance in comparison to the enormous power of the waters, the action of spiralling suggests that due to curiosity people often fall in the trap of death as a consequence of their lack of awareness of the true danger. The mirror created on the surface of the water signifies the manner in which even though the sky is above it does not necessarily mean that it...

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