This poem is taken from Shakespeare’s famous play ” The Tempest”. It is a song sang by the spirit Arial to Ferdinand, the prince of Naples, who thinks his father is drowned. Arial says to Ferdinand that his father lies thirty feet below the surface of the sea. His body has undergone a great change. It has changed to something beautiful and strange. The bones have changed into coral. His eyes have been changed into pearls. Every part of his body has changed to something permanent and beautiful which is never going to change or fade like the body of flesh and bones. And the sea nymphs ring the death bell every hour. Arial says that he can hear ding-dong bell even there.
In this short musical poem, the poet has expressed his view on life after death. He believes that death is an entrance into permanent spiritual life which is more beautiful than the physical existence. Thus death is not the end of life but the beginning.
Important questions and answers:
1. Is death meaningful in this poem?
Ans: Yes, the death is meaningful in this poem because every part of the dead body of the King has been changed into something strange. His bones have changed into coral. His eyes have been changed into pearls. Every part of his body has changed to something permanent and beautiful which is never going to change or fade like the body of flesh and bones. Nothing is decayed and damaged. Even the sea nymphs welcome him ringing the death bell every hour.
2. Explain the significance of Ding-Dong in the poem.
Ans: Ariel sings this song to give sympathy to Ferdinand about his death. He says that the death is not meaningless. He is welcomed by sea nymphs ringing the death bell every hours. The word “Ding-Dong” signifies the sound of bell. It also represents the repetition of the information of the death.
3. Do you think the poem is musical? What makes the poem musical?
Ans: Yes, the poem is musical. The musicality is given by the figure of speech like onomatopoeia, alliteration and assonance used in the poem. In the First line of the poem ‘f’ sound is repeated – ‘full fathom five thy father lies‘. This repetition of a consonant sound is alliteration. In the same time the vowel sound ‘i’ is repeated in ‘thy’ & ‘lies’. This repetition of a vowel sound is called assonance. The sound ‘Ding-Dong’ refers to the bell which produces this sound. It gives the sound like the ringing of the bells. This is an example of onomatopoeia. All these sounds give a musical effect to the poem.