I Have a Rendezvous with Death

by Alan Seeger

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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 285

"I Have a Rendezvous with Death" is an elegiac poem written by American author Alan Seeger, who joined the French Army and was ultimately killed in the First World War. The poem follows a standard rhyme scheme and consists of 24 lines compiled in 3 stanzas. In his poem, Seeger himself is the speaker and talks about his inevitable meeting (or rendezvous) with death.

Death is the main and central theme of the poem. Seeger personifies death and repeats the title of the poem several times. This might lead the reader to think that Seeger did not fear death; on the contrary, he welcomed it. As a soldier in World War I, he has experienced what many other young soldiers experienced at the battle fronts; he saw the carnage and destruction, and he wrote about his ideals, conveying his patriotic spirit and bravery. Seeger is very aware that death is a probable outcome for him and many of his comrades. He shows his confident and fearless nature, writing from the perspective of someone who has witnessed death all around him and as someone who courageously expects it.

Thus, another theme might be the sacrifice a soldier must be willing to make in the name of his country. In the middle of a violent war, Seeger decided to fight and give his life for what he, his leaders, and his mates believed was right and just. This is why he joined the French forces, as the United States was still not officially involved in the conflict. Seeger seems to have accepted both his fate and his duty and purpose as a soldier, choosing to fight (and die) in one of the greatest conflicts the world has ever seen.

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