In ‘The Trial By Existence,’ Robert Frost examines the paradoxical nature of bravery, emphasizing the rewards found in continuously daring to face the challenges of existence. Through vivid imagery and thought-provoking metaphors, Frost invites readers to contemplate the choices, sacrifices, and enigmatic nature of life.
The poem explores the cyclical nature of decision-making and the transformative power of embracing pain, prompting introspection and a deeper understanding of the human experience.
The Trial by Existence Robert FrostEven the bravest that are slain Shall not dissemble their surpriseOn waking to find valor reign, Even as on earth, in paradise;And where they sought without the sword Wide field of asphodel fore’er,To find that the utmost reward Of daring should be still to dare.The light of heaven falls whole and white And is not shattered into dyes,The light for ever is morning light; The hills are verdured pasture-wise;The angel hosts with freshness go, And seek with laughter what to brave;—And binding all is the hushed snow Of the far-distant breaking wave.And from a cliff-top is proclaimed The gathering of the souls for birth,The trial by existence named, The obscuration upon earth.And the slant spirits trooping by In streams and cross- and counter-streamsCan but give ear to that sweet cry For its suggestion of what dreams!And the more loitering are turned To view once more the sacrificeOf those who for some good discerned Will gladly give up paradise.And a white shimmering concourse rolls Toward the throne to witness thereThe speeding of devoted souls Which God makes his especial care.And none are taken but who will, Having first heard the life read outThat opens earthward, good and ill, Beyond the shadow of a doubt;And very beautifully God limns, And tenderly, life’s little dream,But naught extenuates or dims, Setting the thing that is supreme.Nor is there wanting in the press Some spirit to stand simply forth,Heroic in its nakedness, Against the uttermost of earth.The tale of earth’s unhonored things Sounds nobler there than ’neath the sun;And the mind whirls and the heart sings, And a shout greets the daring one.But always God speaks at the end: ‘One thought in agony of strifeThe bravest would have by for friend, The memory that he chose the life;But the pure fate to which you go Admits no memory of choice,Or the woe were not earthly woe To which you give the assenting voice.’And so the choice must be again, But the last choice is still the same;And the awe passes wonder then, And a hush falls for all acclaim.And God has taken a flower of gold And broken it, and used therefromThe mystic link to bind and hold Spirit to matter till death come.’Tis of the essence of life here, Though we choose greatly, still to lackThe lasting memory at all clear, That life has for us on the wrackNothing but what we somehow chose; Thus are we wholly stripped of prideIn the pain that has but one close, Bearing it crushed and mystified.
Explore The Trial by Existence
‘The Trial by Existence’ by Robert Frost is a profound and complex poem that delves into the themes of bravery, sacrifice and the enigmatic nature of life.
The poem explores the surprises that even the bravest individuals encounter upon awakening in a realm where valor reigns, resembling both earth and paradise. Those who seek a peaceful afterlife are met with the realization that the ultimate reward for their daring is to continue daring.
The heavenly light remains pure and undivided, casting a morning-like glow on the verdant hills. Angelic beings exude freshness and laughter as they eagerly seek new challenges. Binding everything together is the serene, distant breaking of ocean waves.
From a cliff-top, the gathering of souls for birth is proclaimed, marking the trial by the existence and the obscuration that occurs on Earth. Spirits move about in streams, crossing and counter-streaming, compelled to listen to the sweet cry that hints at their dreams. Some linger to witness the sacrifice of those who willingly forsake paradise in pursuit of a greater good. A shimmering multitude converges toward the throne, witnessing the departure of devoted souls, which God carefully attends to.
Only those who willingly choose to go after hearing their life’s story are taken. God paints a beautiful and tender picture of life’s brief dream but does not diminish its harsh realities or supreme significance. Amidst the gathering, some spirits stand forth heroically, stripped of all pretenses, facing the utmost challenges of earthly existence. Their noble tales, uncelebrated on Earth, resonate profoundly in this realm, stirring minds and inspiring cheers for these daring souls.
Yet, in the end, God speaks with solemnity, acknowledging that the bravest among them would desire the memory of choosing their life as a friend. However, the pure fate that awaits them after death allows no recollection of choice; otherwise, the suffering they assent to would lose its earthly significance. Thus, the choice must be made again and again, with each final choice being identical. Wonder turns to awe, and a profound silence descends.
God takes a golden flower, breaks it, and uses a piece as a mystical bond that connects spirit to matter until death arrives. This bond is intrinsic to life’s essence, and although we make significant choices, we ultimately lack a clear and lasting memory of the purpose that life holds for us in its tumultuous struggles. We bear the pain, crushed and mystified, devoid of any pride.
‘The Trial by Existence’ explores the surprises, sacrifices, and choices inherent in life’s journey. It reflects on the bravery required to face the challenges of existence and the enigma of why we make the choices we do, ultimately leaving us with a sense of wonder, silence, and a profound lack of clarity about life’s true purpose.
Structure and Form
‘The Trial by Existence’ by Robert Frost follows a structured and consistent form, utilizing an octave consisting of nine stanzas, each containing eight lines. This form provides a balanced and symmetrical framework for the poem. The consistent rhyming scheme of ABABCDCD further enhances the poem’s musicality and adds to its overall sense of harmony.
The poem begins with an introduction of the structure and theme, presenting the surprise of the slain bravest upon awakening to a realm where valor reigns. The first stanza sets the tone and establishes the poem’s focus on the paradoxical nature of existence.
Throughout the nine stanzas, Frost explores various aspects of existence, employing a contemplative and philosophical tone. Each stanza presents distinct ideas and reflections on the nature of life, the pursuit of reward, and the role of sacrifice. The structured form allows for a rhythmic flow, enhancing the poem’s readability and emphasizing the significance of each line.
The consistent rhyme scheme of ABABCDCD contributes to the poem’s musicality and reinforces the unity of the individual stanzas. The rhyme pairs are skillfully woven, creating a harmonious interplay between the ending words of each line. This deliberate arrangement adds to the overall aesthetic appeal and coherence of the poem.
The use of active voice in the analysis further emphasizes the intentional construction of the poem’s form and structure. By discussing the rhyme scheme, stanza arrangement, and the impact of these choices on the poem’s meaning, the analysis highlights the author’s deliberate artistic decisions.
In ‘The Trial by Existence,’ Robert Frost addresses several prominent themes, delving into the complexities of human experience and the nature of existence. One theme explored is the paradoxical nature of bravery and sacrifice. Frost presents the surprise of the bravest upon awakening in a realm where valor reigns, highlighting the irony that the ultimate reward for daring is to continue daring. The poem states, “Of daring should be still to dare,” emphasizing the continuous cycle of bravery.
Another theme is the enigmatic and transient nature of life. Frost describes the light of heaven as unshattered and eternal, symbolizing the timeless essence of existence. He also portrays the gathering of souls for birth and the trial by existence as obscured and mysterious. The poem suggests that life’s purpose and meaning remain elusive and subject to interpretation, as seen in the lines, “For its suggestion of what dreams!” Life is depicted as a fleeting dream, difficult to fully comprehend.
Sacrifice and the pursuit of a greater good are also central themes. Frost portrays those who willingly give up paradise for some discerned good as noble and heroic. Their sacrifice, uncelebrated on Earth, resonates profoundly in the realm of existence, where the tale of Earth’s unhonored things sounds nobler. This theme highlights the value of selflessness and the significance of choosing a path aligned with one’s convictions.
Lastly, the poem touches upon the idea of fate and the limitations of human agency. God’s words at the end suggest that the pure fate awaiting individuals after death does not allow for the memory of choice. This theme explores the notion that our lives are shaped by forces beyond our control, raising questions about the extent of free will and the role of destiny in our existence.
Through vivid imagery and thought-provoking language, Frost weaves together these themes, inviting readers to reflect on the complex interplay of bravery, sacrifice, the enigma of life, and the boundaries of human agency.
Poetic Techniques and Figurative Language
Robert Frost masterfully employs a range of poetic techniques and figurative language in ‘The Trial by Existence’ to convey his profound message. The poem is rich in vivid imagery, allowing readers to engage with the themes on a deeper level.
- Metaphors and Similes: Frost utilizes these two to enhance the poem’s meaning. For example, he compares the light of heaven to morning light, emphasizing its purity and eternal nature. The line “The light for ever is morning light” presents a metaphorical connection between celestial radiance and the dawning of a new day.
- Personification: This is another technique used to evoke powerful imagery. Frost portrays the angel hosts seeking with laughter what to brave, endowing them with human-like characteristics. This personification breathes life into the divine beings and adds a touch of whimsy to the poem.
- Alliteration: Throughout the poem, Frost employs alliteration to create musicality and emphasize the key words. For instance, in the line “And a white shimmering concourse rolls,” the repetition of the “w” sound in “white,” “shimmering,” and “rolls” creates a pleasing auditory effect, drawing attention to the movement and significance of the multitude.
- Repetition: Frost uses repetition for emphasis and to reinforce the poem’s themes. The repetition of the word “dare” in the first stanza highlights the cyclical nature of bravery. The repetition of “choice” in the final stanzas underscores the limited agency of individuals and the recurring nature of decision-making.
- Imagery: The poem also contains powerful imagery, such as the image of the light of heaven falling whole and white. Frost’s vivid descriptions of the verdant hills and the hushed snow of the distant breaking wave evoke a sense of serenity and beauty.
These literary devices contribute to the poem’s aesthetic appeal and help convey Frost’s profound message about bravery, sacrifice, and the enigmatic nature of existence.
Even the bravest that are slain
Shall not dissemble their surprise
On waking to find valor reign,
Even as on earth, in paradise;
And where they sought without the sword
Wide field of asphodel fore’er,
To find that the utmost reward
Of daring should be still to dare.
In the first stanza of ‘The Trial by Existence,’ Robert Frost conveys a powerful message about bravery, sacrifice, and the paradoxical nature of valor. The stanza opens with a bold assertion that even the bravest individuals who meet their demise do not hide their astonishment upon awakening in a realm where valor prevails. Frost suggests that this surprise arises from the unexpected continuation of their courageous spirit beyond death.
By juxtaposing the phrase “even as on earth, in paradise,” Frost highlights the similarity between the brave souls’ experience in this realm and their previous expectations of a heavenly afterlife. This contrast underscores the paradox of their situation – they sought a peaceful existence in paradise yet awakened to a world where valor remains essential.
Frost employs vivid imagery to depict their initial aspirations. The phrase “where they sought without the sword” portrays their quest for a tranquil existence devoid of conflict. The “wide field of asphodel” symbolizes an idyllic and eternal resting place associated with Greek mythology, further emphasizing their desire for peace and reward.
However, the stanza takes a surprising turn as Frost reveals that the utmost reward for their daring is not found in a tranquil afterlife but rather in the continuous act of daring itself. The final two lines of the stanza encapsulate this idea succinctly: “Of daring should be still to dare.” This paradoxical statement suggests that the ultimate reward for bravery is not the achievement of a single triumph or the attainment of a serene existence but the perpetual courage to face new challenges.
Through this message, Frost challenges conventional notions of reward and fulfillment. He suggests that true valor lies not in seeking safety and comfort but in the ongoing willingness to confront adversity. By presenting this idea in the context of the afterlife, Frost prompts readers to reflect on the nature of bravery and the potential rewards it offers beyond what may be expected.
The light of heaven falls whole and white
And is not shattered into dyes,
The light for ever is morning light;
The hills are verdured pasture-wise;
The angel hosts with freshness go,
And seek with laughter what to brave;—
And binding all is the hushed snow
Of the far-distant breaking wave.
In the second stanza of ‘The Trial by Existence,’ Robert Frost continues to convey his message through vivid imagery and metaphoric language, emphasizing the eternal and unchanging nature of heavenly light and the profound harmony present in the realm of existence.
Frost begins by describing the light of heaven as falling “whole and white,” indicating its purity and undivided essence. This imagery suggests that the celestial light remains untainted and unfragmented, symbolizing its everlasting nature. Frost further reinforces this idea by stating that the light is not “shattered into dyes,” highlighting its pristine and unaltered form.
By asserting that the light is “for ever morning light,” Frost conveys the timeless and perpetual quality of this heavenly illumination. Morning light is often associated with new beginnings and hope, suggesting that in this realm, a sense of renewal and optimism prevails eternally.
The stanza then shifts its focus to the landscape, describing the hills as “verdured pasture-wise.” This imagery paints a picture of lush green hills, evoking a sense of tranquility and abundance. The phrase “pasture-wise” implies a state of harmony and natural balance, suggesting that the realm of existence is a place of serenity and nourishment.
Frost introduces the angel hosts in the next lines, presenting them as fresh and vibrant beings who joyfully seek out new challenges. The phrase “seek with laughter what to brave” not only characterizes the angel hosts as spirited and courageous but also highlights the joy and enthusiasm they possess in their pursuit of new experiences.
The stanza concludes with a powerful image of unity and connection. Frost describes the “hushed snow of the far-distant breaking wave” as binding everything together. This metaphorical depiction suggests a sense of tranquility and interconnectedness as if the very essence of existence is woven together by the silent, serene presence of the ocean’s distant waves.
In this stanza, Frost’s imagery and metaphors create a vision of an idyllic realm where unblemished light, verdant hills, courageous angel hosts, and peaceful snow-bound waves exist in harmony. Through these vivid descriptions, Frost conveys a message of a perfect and unified existence where timeless light, beauty, and adventure coexist harmoniously.
The stanza invites readers to contemplate the possibilities of such a realm and encourages them to reflect on the interconnectedness of existence and the potential for joy and fulfillment found in the pursuit of brave and meaningful endeavors. It presents a contrasting vision of the earthly realm, suggesting that within the trials and challenges of existence, there is the potential for profound beauty and unity.
And from a cliff-top is proclaimed
The gathering of the souls for birth,
The trial by existence named,
The obscuration upon earth.
And the slant spirits trooping by
In streams and cross- and counter-streams
Can but give ear to that sweet cry
For its suggestion of what dreams!
In the third stanza, Robert Frost continues to explore the profound themes of life and existence. This stanza focuses on the proclamation of the gathering of souls for birth, the trial of existence itself, and the mysterious nature of human life on Earth.
Frost begins by depicting a cliff-top from which the gathering of souls for birth is proclaimed. This imagery suggests a vantage point that overlooks the beginning of life’s journey, symbolizing a pivotal and significant moment. The cliff-top serves as a metaphorical threshold between realms, signifying the transition from the realm of the unknown to the realm of earthly existence.
The concept of the trial by existence is introduced, emphasizing the challenges and tests that individuals face throughout their lives. Frost’s choice of the word “trial” implies a process of evaluation and judgment, highlighting the significance of the human experience. By naming existence itself as a trial, Frost underscores the difficulties and complexities inherent in living.
The stanza further explores the idea of the “obscuration upon earth.” This phrase suggests that the true nature of life on Earth is obscured or hidden, possibly referring to the uncertainties and mysteries surrounding human existence. It implies that the purpose and meaning of life may not be readily apparent or easily understood.
Frost then describes the “slant spirits trooping by” in streams and cross- and counter-streams. This vivid imagery suggests a continuous and dynamic movement, symbolizing the flow of souls into the realm of existence. The use of “slant” conveys a sense of inclination or purposeful direction, implying that these spirits are on a specific path or journey.
The stanza concludes with the notion that the spirits can only “give ear to that sweet cry for its suggestion of what dreams!” This phrase suggests that the souls, in their nascent state, can only listen to a mysterious cry that alludes to the possibilities and potential of their future existence. It hints at the idea that life holds dreams, aspirations, and uncharted territories, evoking a sense of curiosity and anticipation.
Through this stanza, Frost conveys a message about the enigmatic nature of human life. He portrays existence as a trial and highlights the uncertainties and hidden aspects of earthly experience. The imagery of the gathering of souls, the dynamic movement, and the suggestion of dreams imbue the stanza with a sense of wonder, mystery, and the infinite possibilities that lie ahead.
Readers are invited to contemplate the trials and challenges they encounter in their own lives, considering the hidden meanings and potential inherent in each experience. The stanza encourages introspection and a deeper understanding of the complexities and uncertainties of existence, urging individuals to approach life with a sense of curiosity and open-mindedness.
And the more loitering are turned
To view once more the sacrifice
Of those who for some good discerned
Will gladly give up paradise.
And a white shimmering concourse rolls
Toward the throne to witness there
The speeding of devoted souls
Which God makes his especial care.
In the fourth stanza, Robert Frost delves into the themes of sacrifice, selflessness, and the profound nature of devotion. This stanza explores the reactions of those who pause or linger to witness the sacrifice of individuals who willingly forsake paradise for the greater good.
Frost begins by describing those who “loiter” or delay their progress. This imagery suggests a sense of hesitation or curiosity as they are drawn to observe the sacrifice unfolding before them. By using the word “loitering,” Frost implies that some individuals take a moment to reflect on and appreciate the magnitude of the sacrifice being made.
The sacrifice itself is depicted as an act undertaken by those who have discerned “some good” and are willing to give up paradise for it. This highlights the selflessness and noble intentions of these individuals, suggesting that they prioritize a higher purpose or cause above personal comfort or eternal bliss.
The stanza then introduces a vivid image of a “white shimmering concourse” rolling towards a throne. This visual description evokes a sense of unity and collective purpose as a multitude of beings come together. The use of “white shimmering” enhances the ethereal and awe-inspiring quality of this scene.
The purpose of this gathering is to witness the “speeding of devoted souls” toward the throne, emphasizing the importance and significance placed on these individuals. Frost suggests that God holds these devoted souls in special care, underscoring their importance in the grand scheme of existence.
This stanza conveys a message about the profound impact of sacrifice and selflessness. Frost suggests that there are individuals who willingly forgo personal paradise in order to serve the greater good. Their act of sacrifice draws attention and admiration from others, who pause to witness and appreciate the magnitude of their commitment.
Through this message, Frost prompts readers to reflect on the value of selflessness and the significance of making sacrifices for noble causes. The stanza celebrates those who are willing to prioritize a greater good above personal comfort or rewards. It invites readers to consider the lasting impact of such acts and the admiration they evoke from others.
And none are taken but who will,
Having first heard the life read out
That opens earthward, good and ill,
Beyond the shadow of a doubt;
And very beautifully God limns,
And tenderly, life’s little dream,
But naught extenuates or dims,
Setting the thing that is supreme.
In the fifth stanza of ‘The Trial by Existence,’ Robert Frost explores the themes of personal agency, self-determination, and the impartial nature of existence. This stanza focuses on the idea that individuals have a choice in accepting the life that awaits them on Earth and emphasizes the unbiased nature of this process.
Frost states that “none are taken but who will,” suggesting that individuals willingly choose to embark on their earthly journey. This implies that there is a level of agency and self-determination in the process of being born and participating in life. It conveys the idea that individuals have a role in shaping their own destiny.
The stanza goes on to describe the process of hearing “the life read out” before descending to Earth. This metaphorical language implies a preexistence state where individuals gain awareness of the challenges and experiences that await them. By hearing their life read out, they become fully cognizant of the joys and sorrows, the good and ill that will be part of their earthly existence.
Frost then introduces the idea that God beautifully “limns” or portrays life’s little dreams with tenderness. This suggests that God intricately designs each individual’s life with care and attention to detail. However, the stanza emphasizes that God does not diminish or lessen the challenges and hardships of life. Frost states that God sets “the thing that is supreme,” indicating that the ultimate reality and truth of existence remain untouched by extenuation or dimming.
Through this stanza, Frost conveys a message about the inherent fairness and impartiality of existence. The choice to participate in life is made willingly by each individual, having full knowledge of what awaits them. God’s role is portrayed as one of careful craftsmanship and tenderness, creating a life that is beautiful and meaningful. However, the stanza also underscores the fact that life encompasses both good and ill, and the ultimate truth of existence remains unaltered.
This stanza invites readers to contemplate the significance of personal agency and the acceptance of the challenges and joys of life. It raises questions about the purpose and meaning of existence and the role of choice in shaping our individual experiences. It prompts readers to reflect on the idea that despite the difficulties and uncertainties of life, there is a supreme truth and reality that transcends any extenuations or attempts to diminish its essence.
Nor is there wanting in the press
Some spirit to stand simply forth,
Heroic in its nakedness,
Against the uttermost of earth.
The tale of earth’s unhonored things
Sounds nobler there than ’neath the sun;
And the mind whirls and the heart sings,
And a shout greets the daring one.
In this sixth stanza, Robert Frost explores the themes of courage, heroism, and the nobility found in overlooked aspects of earthly existence. This stanza celebrates the presence of individuals who boldly stand forth, unadorned and unafraid, against the challenges that Earth presents.
Frost begins by stating that “nor is there wanting in the press,” suggesting that even within the multitude or crowd, there are spirits that rise above and stand out. These individuals choose to step forward with simplicity and authenticity, displaying their true selves without any pretense or artifice.
The stanza describes these spirits as “heroic in their nakedness,” emphasizing their courage and strength in facing the utmost challenges of Earth. This phrase suggests that their bravery lies not in grandeur or external adornments but in their willingness to confront the difficulties of existence with authenticity and vulnerability.
Frost goes on to assert that the “tale of earth’s unhonored things” sounds nobler in this realm than beneath the sun. This phrase suggests that the stories and experiences of ordinary, overlooked aspects of life carry a deeper significance and meaning within the realm of existence. It implies that the courage and heroism found in the struggles of everyday life hold a special value that transcends conventional recognition.
The stanza evokes a sense of wonder and celebration as the mind whirls and the heart sings in response to the daring individuals who stand forth. It suggests that their boldness and authenticity inspire collective admiration and exuberance, symbolized by the shout that greets them.
Through this stanza, Frost conveys a message about the inherent nobility and significance of individuals who face life’s challenges with simplicity and authenticity. He highlights the courage found in the unheralded aspects of existence and suggests that the tales of ordinary life possess a deeper meaning and resonance within the realm of existence.
This stanza invites readers to reflect on the value of authenticity, vulnerability, and the recognition of courage in everyday life. It prompts us to reevaluate our definitions of heroism and to celebrate the unsung heroes who confront the challenges of earthly existence with unwavering spirit. It encourages a shift in perspective, recognizing that true nobility lies not solely in grand gestures, but also in the quiet bravery and resilience found in the ordinary aspects of life.
But always God speaks at the end:
‘One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for friend,
The memory that he chose the life;
But the pure fate to which you go
Admits no memory of choice,
Or the woe were not earthly woe
To which you give the assenting voice.’
In the seventh stanza, Robert Frost delves into the themes of fate, memory, and the limitations of human agency. This stanza presents God’s perspective and conveys a message about the role of choice and the acceptance of earthly woe.
The stanza begins with the declaration that God always speaks at the end. This statement suggests that God has the final word, offering insights and wisdom regarding the nature of existence. God’s words are portrayed as significant and authoritative, inviting readers to consider their implications.
God’s message revolves around the idea that even the bravest individuals in the midst of strife desire a single thought as a friend: the memory that they chose the life they are living. This longing for a memory of choice underscores the significance humans place on agency and the desire for ownership and control over their experiences.
However, God reveals that the pure fate to which individuals go admits no memory of choice. This implies that the afterlife or the ultimate reality that awaits individuals after death does not allow for recollection or personal agency. The absence of memory of choice suggests a relinquishment of control and the surrender to a higher, predetermined fate.
God further explains that this lack of memory is essential for the earthly woe to retain its significance. The stanza implies that the sorrows and struggles experienced in earthly life hold a distinct purpose and value precisely because individuals willingly give their assenting voice to them. It suggests that the acceptance of earthly woe is an integral part of the human experience, contributing to the meaningfulness of existence.
Through this stanza, Frost conveys a message about the limitations of human agency and the acceptance of fate. It suggests that while humans desire the memory of choosing their own life, this memory is not granted in the afterlife. The stanza challenges conventional notions of control and autonomy, prompting readers to contemplate the purpose and meaning found in the acceptance of life’s challenges.
It invites reflection on the idea that the sorrows and woe experienced in life serve a greater purpose and contribute to the richness and significance of existence. It encourages readers to embrace the acceptance of earthly woe, recognizing its role in shaping personal growth and understanding.
And so the choice must be again,
But the last choice is still the same;
And the awe passes wonder then,
And a hush falls for all acclaim.
And God has taken a flower of gold
And broken it, and used therefrom
The mystic link to bind and hold
Spirit to matter till death come.
In the eighth stanza, Robert Frost explores the themes of choice, inevitability, and the intertwining of spirit and matter. This stanza presents a reflection on the nature of choice and its recurring patterns, ultimately leading to a sense of awe and the binding of spirit to physical existence.
Frost begins by stating that the choice must be made again, implying a cyclical nature of decision-making. This suggests that individuals are continually faced with choices throughout their lives, emphasizing the ongoing nature of decision-making and the repeated patterns that arise.
However, Frost adds that the last choice is still the same. This line suggests a sense of inevitability, indicating that despite the multitude of choices presented, there is an underlying consistency and similarity in the ultimate decision. It hints at the idea that there is a fundamental choice or purpose that remains unchanged.
As individuals confront the awe-inspiring nature of this realization, the stanza suggests that the initial wonder fades, replaced by a hush of reverence and acceptance. The awe and wonder associated with the multitude of choices give way to a profound silence and a sense of collective recognition.
The stanza then introduces the image of God taking a flower of gold and breaking it, using it to create a mystic link that binds and holds spirit to matter until death comes. This metaphorical language implies that the spiritual essence of individuals is connected to the physical world through a mystical and unbreakable bond. It symbolizes the intertwining of the ethereal and the material aspects of existence.
Through this stanza, Frost conveys a message about the nature of choice, inevitability, and the connection between spirit and matter. It suggests that despite the recurrence of choices, there is a fundamental decision that remains consistent. It explores the shift from initial wonder to a deeper sense of reverence and acceptance. The imagery of God breaking a golden flower and creating a mystical link evokes a sense of profound unity between the spiritual and physical realms.
This stanza prompts readers to reflect on the choices they make in their lives, recognizing the recurring patterns and the underlying purpose that guides their decisions. It invites contemplation on the interconnectedness of spirit and matter, urging recognition of the profound nature of existence and the binding of the intangible with the tangible.
’Tis of the essence of life here,
Though we choose greatly, still to lack
The lasting memory at all clear,
That life has for us on the wrack
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stripped of pride
In the pain that has but one close,
Bearing it crushed and mystified.
In the final stanza, Robert Frost delves into the theme of the essence of life and the profound impact of choice and memory. This stanza offers a poignant reflection on the nature of existence, acknowledging the absence of lasting clarity in our memories and the transformative power of embracing life’s pain.
Frost asserts that it is the essence of life in this realm to lack a clear and lasting memory. This statement suggests that despite the choices we make and the experiences we encounter, our memories of them are often transient and lacking in definitive clarity. It highlights the ephemeral nature of human recollection and the challenge of fully grasping the complexities of our existence.
The stanza goes on to suggest that life presents us with nothing but what we somehow choose. This implies that our experiences, both joyful and painful, are a result of the choices we have made. It acknowledges the agency and responsibility we hold in shaping our own lives, emphasizing the significance of our decisions.
Frost then presents a shift in perspective, stating that we are wholly stripped of pride in the pain that has but one close. This suggests that embracing the inevitability of pain and suffering in life leads to a release of pride or arrogance. It implies that by acknowledging and accepting the crushing and mystifying nature of pain, we undergo a transformation, transcending the need for pride.
The stanza concludes with the notion of bearing pain, crushed and mystified. This image suggests a willingness to carry the weight of pain, accepting its enigmatic nature. By doing so, we embrace the transformative power of pain and find meaning within its mysterious depths.
Through this final stanza, Frost conveys a profound message about the essence of life, the impact of choice, and the transformative nature of pain. It prompts readers to reflect on the fleeting nature of memory, the significance of our choices, and the potential for growth and understanding through embracing life’s hardships.
The stanza invites us to confront the inevitability of pain and suffering, encouraging a shift in perspective that embraces the transformative power of these experiences. It challenges our preconceptions about the nature of existence and the role of memory, urging us to find meaning and resilience in the face of life’s mysteries.
The mood is contemplative, philosophical, and reflective. The poem evokes a sense of introspection and deep thought as readers engage with the existential questions and themes explored. There is a mixture of solemnity and wonder as readers contemplate the challenges and choices inherent in the human experience.
The poem triggers a range of emotions, including contemplation, curiosity, awe, and a sense of wonder. It invites readers to reflect on their own experiences, choices, and the profound questions posed about the nature of life and existence.
The poem is so-titled to encapsulate the central theme of the poem, which revolves around the idea that life itself is a trial or test. It suggests that existence is characterized by challenges, choices, and the struggle to find meaning and fulfillment in the face of adversity.
- ‘A Coffin—is a Small Domain’ by Emily Dickinson – explores death. It is characteristic of much of the poet’s work in that it clearly addresses this topic and everything that goes along with it.
- ‘After Death’ – is a Petrarchan Sonnet by Victorian poet Christina Rossetti. It skillfully explores themes of death and tragic love.
- ‘A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body‘ by Andrew Marvell – describes the conflict between the human body and the human Soul, each attributing its troubles and sufferings to the other.