Comment on how death and life images are combined to create a sense of after death amidst a background of human activity, noise and movement?this question is based on an extract lines 239 - 258...

Comment on how death and life images are combined to create a sense of after death amidst a background of human activity, noise and movement?

this question is based on an extract lines 239 - 258 "dead long dead ...............Is enough to drive one mad" give your answer based within the lines mentioned from the poem "Maud:a monodrama"

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Here's the stanza to which you refer:

Dead, long dead,
Long dead!
And my heart is a handful of dust,
And the wheels go over my head,
And my bones are shaken with pain,
For into a shallow grave they are thrust,
Only a yard beneath the street,
And the hoofs of the horses beat, beat,
The hoofs of the horses beat,
Beat into my scalp and my brain,
With never an end to the stream of passing feet,
Driving, hurrying, marrying, burying,
Clamour and rumble, and ringing and clatter,
And here beneath it is all as bad,
For I thought the dead had peace, but it is not so;
To have no peace in the grave, is that not sad?
But up and down and to and fro,
Ever about me the dead men go;
And then to hear a dead man chatter
Is enough to drive one mad
.

Is has become an archetype in literature for the dead to discuss how much more aware they are of life after they are dead.  Odysseus must go see Tiresias, the dead prophet in Hades, in order to find his way home.  Emily, in Our Town, cannot stand returning to earth to witness how her family never really looks at each other.  Addie Bundren, in As I Lay Dying, has her only narration in death; in it, she expresses how nihilistic she was during her life.

The speaker here does the same.  He is a kind of living dead.  He is in a kind of hell.  And he is near madness.  He is alive in that he still has a voice, and he uses it say that those living above him are actually dead (morally).  He is dead in that he no longer has a body that moves among the living.  He is in a hell in that he can still hear the bustle of activity above, but they cannot hear him.  And so the wisdom and regret he has attained in death is for naught: he has no audience, and this drives him to near madness.

He says "hearing the dead men chatter...is enough to drive one mad."  This is paradoxical language used to point out the irony in the living and dead's situations.  The speaker is saying that the dead are morally worth more than the living.  The dead are going mad because they can hear the chatter of the living.  This chatter is the sound of denial and nothingness.  It is the clatter of things, materialism.  It is not the sound of people having open, honest conversations.  It is not the sound of people taking stock of their lives.  It is not the sounds of people who are preparing for death.  Ironically, only a dead man can hear dead things.

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