Full Fathom Five
By William Shakespeare
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them,--ding-dong, bell.
Diction: Shakespeare's use of diction (thy, doth and hark) hints to the time period in which he lived. The old english words create an "old-time" feel to the poem.
Allusion: In the seventh line of the poem Shakespeare states that "Sea-nymphs houtly ring his knell". The mention of sea-nymphs is an allusion to Greek mythology. Sea-nymphs were mythical creatures that helped sailors when the ship was traped in a powerful storm.
Syntax: Syntax is used in poems to help the poem flow in an intended way. In line 2 of "Full Fathom Five", the sentence structure is reverse of normal structure. The line reads "Of his bones are coral made" where as the proper structure should read "His bones were made of coral." Another example can be found in the last line which reads "... now I hear them..." where the proper sentence structure would read "I hear them now".
Repetion: "ding-dong" is shown twice in this poem. It appears in lines 8 and 9 as a sign that the sea-nymphs do "hourly ring his knell".
Theme: This poem depicts that a man has died at sea and his body will forever be incorperated into the ocean.
Tone: This poem has a dark tone to it. It continually makes references to death and sorrow.
Symbols: Lines 2-5 symbolize a sailor who has died at sea becoming part of the ocean. He will always be part of the ocean now.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon. His date of birth is not recorded in written records but is predicted to be around April 23, 1564. He married his wife, Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582, when he was around 18 years old. The couple had three children- Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Shakespeare wanted to be an actor and playwrite but eventually settled into writing poetry. He allegedly died on his birthday in 1616.
During the time this poem was written, Europe was sending out exploration ships which may have helped to inspire this poem.