The extract ‘Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies’ is a song taken out from William Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tempest’. It is a song sung by the invisible spirit Ariel to Ferdinand, the Prince of Naples, who mistakenly thinks that his father has drowned into the sea and died. According to the story, one day the king with his son Ferdinand and other people set out for the sea-journey in ship. Suddenly, there is a terrible tempest that causes accident. The king and other people drown into the sea and Ferdinand finds himself on the bank of the sea. He thinks that his father has died, and begins to weep. Suddenly, the invisible Ariel comes and tells him that his father has not died but has got the new life.
The poem begins with the song by giving information to the prince that his father lies 30ft. below the sea. So, there is no need to be worried. According to the Ariel his father’s bones have been changed into coral and eyes have been changed into pearls. No any organs have been decayed. Instead, all organs have undergone a wonderful sea and changed into valuable things. In order to confirm that, sea-nymphs ring the bell producing the sound ding-dong. The Ariel tells the Prince that the sound is still heard and says him to listen to it carefully.
Through the poem, the poet has tried to show that death is something very important which changes the dead person into something valuable and precious. In a sense, the poet gives the impression to the readers that death is meaningful and one should not worry and Lament on death. Here, the poets attempt is to give emphasis upon the meaningful death. According to simple understanding, both life and death exist side by side. But our priority goes to life only. We talk about life and forget death. But in this poem, through Ariel, the poet tries to show that death is not the ending of human life but the beginning of new life in new place.
This is a lyrical poem. The poet has used different literary devices like alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia in order to make the poem musical and interesting. The way the poem is presented with the help of such literary devices show that death of Prince’s father is different from other people. The musical quality of the song shows that death is something that is to be celebrated. Thus, they contribute to the theme and meaning of the poem. The expression ding-dong seems to be significant as it sounds like the announcement of the end of one life and beginning of another. It may be a suggestion that there is life after death and it is going to be more glorious tan the life we live on the earth.