Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies - Summary | The Heritage of Words

William Shakespeare

Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies

Fathom Five Thy Father Lies” is taken from Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”. Here the spirit Ariel sings this song to Ferdinand, Prince of Naples, who mistakenly thinks that his father is drowned.

Ariel says that Ferdinand’s father is dead and is lying thirty feet below in the sea bed. The Prince is very sad to miss his father in a sea-wind, so Ariel gives sympathy to him by saying that death is a meaningful change. He says that the bones of his father have turned into coral and eyes into pearls. Sea-nymphs respect him with death bell every hour. None of the parts have wasted but changed into more valuable. Ariel pretends that he is listening to the ding dong sound of the bell.

In this poem, death is shown as a meaningful change. Death is not an absolute end but only a process of transformation into another natural object. The main idea of this song is that – the man who is part of nature transforms into other natural objects after death. The body of Ferdinand’s father has been changed into something more valuable and strange. His bones have changed into corals and eyes into pearls. Even after death, he is warmly welcomed in heaven by nymphs by ringing the bell.

Important Questions :

1. Define the poetic devices used in the poem with examples.
The following are the poetic devices used in this poem.
a. Alliteration: It is the repetition of the initial sound of the word many times in a sentence. Example: Full Fathom Five thy Father lies. Here, the ‘F’ sound is repeated four times in the sentence.
b. Onomatopoeia: It is a way of expressing on the object by imitating its sound instead of naming the object. Example: Ding-dong-bell Mew-cat
c. Assonance: It’s the process of making a vowel sound long and nasal to create a special effect and to maintain the poetic matter. Example: d-i-ng, d-o-ng

2. Write a brief account on ‘Art and Life’ or ‘Life and Art’.
The skill of creation is called Art. People in possession (having) of this creative skill are known as the artist. Art may be different by its form, style and time. Although it is different by its form and style, art always influences human beings. Art always remains an effective and important motivational factor for human beings. In order to live a happy and satisfied life, art is an inevitable aspect of life. Art in its supreme form is able to provide us the deepest inner freshness which in turn inspires us to make ourselves happy and amiable. To get rid of difficulties in life, it is immensely important for us to appreciate. By appreciating art, we can keep ourselves happy by forgetting the problems of life.

Human life is very transient (short) and when we die our life is finished. But despite this appearance of physical existence, an artist can live an immortal life. Life is sure to come to an end but art remains forever. Laxmi Prasad Devkota is remaining immortal among Nepali people for his fine piece of art in, literature in the form of Muna Madan. Other great artist’s of different artistic fields are still immortal because of their great works of art. When we enjoy art we find amiability within ourselves thereby inspiring us to appreciate art. It is indeed true that all works of art provide us with the deepest experience and higher value of our life.

Question for Practice :

  1. Write a summary of the poem in one paragraph.
  2. Is death meaningful in this poem?

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