The speaker in the poem "Thanatopsis" shifts. Who is the first speaker? Who is the second? How does meaning change with the speaker?

The first speaker in Bryant's "Thanatopsis" is the poet, who advises that, when one feels bitterness or pain at the thought of death, one should go out and listen to the teachings of Nature. The second voice is that of Nature herself, who reassures the reader in calm, philosophical tones that death is nothing to fear.

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The first sixteen and a half lines of William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis" are spoken by the poet, or by a speaker with whom he closely identifies himself. In the middle of the seventeenth line, the speaker suddenly changes, and the rest of the poem is spoken by a personified figure of Nature, addressing poet and reader.

With the change in speaker, the tone of the poem becomes calmer and more philosophical, giving the reassurance the first...

(The entire section contains 244 words.)

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