Ariel’s song in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”

Full fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
Those are pearls that were his eyes
Nothing of him that doth change
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

A fascinating lyric which Ariel the spirit sings before Ferdinand who is mourning the supposed death of his father by drowning. The lyric is pure melody in terms of the assonances and alliterative effects .More important is the finest visual imagery employed to describe the metamorphosis of the dead person into an exquisite object of beauty. We know Ariel is just playing a prank on the Prince telling him that his father is dead but the spirit that Ariel is looks at the death of this mortal as transformation into something rich and strange. His bones are corals and his eyes are pearls and nothing of him changes except into something rich and strange..

The unreality of the supposed death is part of Ariel’s world which is of the spirits , being the stuff dreams are made of. The entire play is steeped in a mystical atmosphere created with exquisite visual imagery .

One comment on “Ariel’s song in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”

  1. […] Ariel’s song in shakespeare’s “the tempest” | the […]

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