Describe the speaker in Millay's poem "Lament."

Expert Answers
linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The lines "Life must go on/ and the dead be forgotten" say a lot about the speaker in this poem. I would describe her as being practical minded. Her husband has died, and rather than get rid of his clothing, she plans to reuse them to make new clothes for their children. She doesn't seem to be overly emotional about this, but it does show that she has some sentimental feelings about him. She tells the children that they'll find things inside the pockets that will help them remember their father. But her practicality returns when she says that the pennies can go into her son's bank, and the keys will be a sort of rattle for her little girl.

After all the practicality and the small sentimentality, we do get a sense that she may be feeling more than she is allowing herself to show. In the last two lines, she says, "Life must go on;/ I just forget why," we finally see that her husband's death has affected her.