Read "Freedom" by Rabindranath Tagore. Provide an interpretation that explicates specific lines and present an overall theme and focus of the poem. Show understanding of the whole picture and how...

Read "Freedom" by Rabindranath Tagore. Provide an interpretation that explicates specific lines and present an overall theme and focus of the poem. Show understanding of the whole picture and how particular words and lines fit into the poem.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rabindranath Tagore's "Freedom" is a lyrical expression of his personal culture, emotions, and imagination.

A Modernist poem, "Freedom" moves away from mere personal expression--

Freedom from fear is the freedom
I claim for you my motherland!--

to an intellectual and political statement:

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet's world,
where movements are started through brainless wires...
to be stirred into a mimicry of life. 

The theme of this poem is that living under the colonial rule of England is a "mimicry of life," not truly living.
The poet "claims" this freedom for his motherland of India, urging that his people not live as "puppets," but instead remove the "shackles of slumber" (a metaphor for the thought-deadening subjugation of colonial rule) from themselves by breaking with the past and joining in the non-violent movement initiated by Gandhi.

As is characteristic of his poetry, there is a metaphysical tone to this poem of Tagore. For, the positive implications of Hindu belief are developed in this verse as there is the emphasis that change is necessary for the renewal of the spirit. Since people all have divine souls, there should be tolerance, respect, and love for one another. Colonial rule does not allow these conditions, so the poet urges his people to strive for freedom from British rule in order to achieve the essential renewal of the spirit.