Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 342
The first character in this poem is the speaker himself. He is a man whose main focus is on God and on the salvation that only God can provide. He lists various characters seen in everyday life throughout the poem; his purpose in describing these characters is to show the...
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The first character in this poem is the speaker himself. He is a man whose main focus is on God and on the salvation that only God can provide. He lists various characters seen in everyday life throughout the poem; his purpose in describing these characters is to show the multitude of people who focus on and follow the shallow and foolish desires and motivations of the mortal world. He criticizes each of these characters in turn, hinting that they will live in metaphorical darkness until they turn their purpose toward seeking the light of God.
The next character mentioned is the lover, poet, and romantic. This type of individual focuses only on the fleeting sensual pleasures and beauties of the mortal world. He spends his time on music, poems, and romantic love rather than seeking what should be his most important relationship, that with God.
After the lover and poet, the next character that the speaker mentions is the one who makes his world about politics and man-made laws. The statesman urges others to obey rules of human behavior based on policies, regulations, or mandates created by other foolish and shallow-minded men. The speaker argues that he will live a life of misery because his world is one that is ripe with politically-inspired bloodshed and violence. The speaker's main criticism of this type of man is his focus on man's laws as opposed to the divine and holy laws of God.
The next character presented is the miser. This man focuses his entire world either on the accumulation of wealth or in a state of anxiety, worrying that his material wealth will be stolen. His greed and materialism consume his days and nights and make him a slave to the mighty dollar. In focusing on money, he denies himself the true riches found only in the kingdom of God.
Finally, the speaker recognizes those characters who share his journey toward salvation. He says that they are bathed in the light of God and are the only ones who know "true light."