What is the structure and style of the poem “Freedom” by Rabindranath Tagore?

Rabindranath Tagore's poem “Freedom” is composed in free verse with significant enjambment, making the poem read much like prose. The poet's style incorporates alliteration, repetition, metaphor, and apostrophe as he explores the theme of true freedom and the obstacles that prevent it.

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“Freedom” by Rabindranath Tagore is a seventeen-line poem in free verse with no regular rhythm or rhyme schemes. The poem is not split into stanzas and is somewhat enjambed, with sentences spanning poetic lines, making the poem read very much like prose.

That said, however, the poet uses some interesting poetic devices to enhance the poem's style. For one thing, alliteration (the repetition of initial sounds) stands out prominently throughout the poem. Notice, for instance, the third and fourth lines and the continual repetition of “b” in “burden,” “bending,” “breaking,” “back,” “blinding,” and “beckoning.” Alliteration also appears with “s” and “w” in later lines.

Also notice the poet's effective use of repetition. The word “freedom” is used six times, and a negative definition of “freedom” (i.e., what freedom is not) follows five of these uses. The poet repeats in order to expand on what freedom truly means for his country. It is a freedom from the “burden of the ages,” from the “shackles of slumber,” from the “anarchy of destiny,” and from the “insult of dwelling in a puppet's world.”

The poet further develops his theme of freedom through metaphors like the ones listed above. A burden of the past lies on the speaker's country. The people are bound in a sleep that does not allow them to follow their true paths. Destiny leads them to anarchy as the people yield their sails to the “blind uncertain winds.” The people dwell in a “puppet's world,” following brainlessly what others tell them to do in a mere “mimicry of life.” These metaphors are extremely vivid, and they capture the essence of a lack of freedom, the habits and oppression that people must shake off to achieve true freedom.

Finally, the poet uses apostrophe in this poem, speaking directly to his motherland, and indirectly to the people who make up his motherland. At first, he uses the pronoun “you” frequently, but that pronoun disappears as the poem continues, indicating that poet may be speaking to a broader audience as he encourages people to reflect on what may be holding them back from freedom.

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