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Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Essay | Critical Essay #5

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Critical Essay #5

In the following essay, Sha encourages the reader to look beneath the surface for meaning in Gray's poem.

Thomas Gray ends his Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard'with an injunction to his readers not to look beyond the confines of the poem. As part of the poet's own epitaph, the enjoinder takes on the force of lapidary inscription and we are made to hear, as it were, the voice of the dead or one who speaks for the dead.

No farther seek his merits to disclose, Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, (There they alike in trembling hope repose) The bosom of his Father and his God.

But Gray also cleverly projects his future audience in the role of a sympathetic reader of the elegy; we readers, who are now "mindful of the un-honoured dead" and are the poet's "kindred spirits," inquire about the poem...

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This section contains 6,052 words
(approx. 21 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Study Guide
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Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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