How does "Break, Break, Break" depict life and nature's persistence despite human events?

Quick answer:

"Break, Break, Break" shows that life goes on and nature goes on despite what happens to human beings by emphasizing the power of nature. Tennyson presents nature as a powerful force driven on by an inner necessity. Therein lies its strength.

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In “Break, Break, Break,” Tennyson contrasts the power of nature with the relative weakness of a man struck down by grief. It is generally thought that the speaker of the poem is Tennyson himself, desperately trying to come to terms with his profound grief over the tragic, untimely death of his close friend Arthur Henry Hallam.

The speaker cannot move on with his life, though he'd dearly love to. Tormented by his loss, he can only admire certain features of the natural world such as the cold gray stones and the crashing of the waves that continue on their majestic course as if driven on by some inner necessity. They do not grieve; they simply go on as before, utterly indifferent to the world around them.

And it's not just nature that goes about its merry way as if there were no suffering or sorrow in the world. Those human beings closest to nature show a remarkable capacity to do likewise. The fisherman's boy playing with his sister and the sailor lad that “sings in his boat on the bay” display the kind of unforced joy of which the grieving speaker, set apart from the natural world as he is, can only dream.

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