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Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies- Class 12 Heritage of words

Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies           -William Shakespeare 

 





‘Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies’ is an extract taken from Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tempest’. It is in the form of a song sung by the spirit Ariel before the prince of Naples, Ferdinand who mistakenly thinks that his father is drowned. The spirit refers to the death as something that brings about a wonderful change to the person who is dead. Thus the poem gives the impression to the readers that death is meaningful and one should not worry as well as lament about it. The poem seems to be an attempt of consolation for Ferdinand.
The speaker begins the song by informing Ferdinand that his father lies at the bottom of deep water measured to five fathoms with a lot of sea change taking over him. According to it, his father’s bones have turned into coral and his eyes are converted into pearls. In place of decaying the body has undergone a rich and wonderful sea change. The sea nymphs announce his death by ringing his knell: Ding-dong. The speaker tells the prince that the sound is still heard.
The way the poem (song) is presented with the help of literary devices such as onomatopoeia, alliteration and assonance show that death is different from what we think it to be. It is meaningful that may announce the beginning of another kind of life and death. These devices enhance the musical qualities of the song making the death as something that needs to be celebrated. Thus they contribute to the theme and the meaning of the poem. The expression “Ding-dong” appears to be significant as it sounds like the announcement about the end of one thing and the beginning of another thing. It may be a suggestion that there is life after death and it is going to be more glorious than the life we lead on earth.
Important Questions from Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies by Shakespeare
Sort Answer Question(s)
1. Write the central idea of the poem ‘Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies’. [2067]
Long Answer Questions
1. How does Shakespeare present the meaningfulness of death in the poem ‘Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies’? Give your own idea about the meaningfulness of death in our life.[2069]
Glossary: [Naples: ancient city of Rome (currently Italy), consolation: something that makes you feel better about a bad situation, fathom: a unit to measure the depth of water (approximately six ft per unit), full fathom five: 5 x 6 = 30 ft, nymphs: angel, a spirit of young girl living in trees and mountains, onomatopoeia: words named after the sound associated with itself (e.g. buzz, murmur), alliteration: the occurrence of the same letter on adjacent or closely connected words (e.g. ding-dong, kill-bill), assonance: same vowel sounds used with different consonants (e.g. penitence-reticence]

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